Message ID: 10147
Posted By: martin_lvnv
Posted On: 2003-06-01 15:00:00
Subject: why does SCO need an NDA?

SCO seems pretty insistant on requiring NDAs. Why?

There are four types of IP: patents, trademarks, copyright and trade secrets.

Patents on Unix have mostly expired.
Copyrights on Unix don't belong to SCO (according to Novell)
Trademarks on Unix belong to The Open Group.

That leaves trade secrets. Interesting enough, unlike the other forms of IP, a company loses protection of a trade secret if they publically disclose it.

Hmmm. Also interesting is the fact if someone (like linux hackers) independantly figure out your trade secret, you are out of luck.

Message ID: 10162
Posted By: martin_lvnv
Posted On: 2003-06-01 17:32:00
Subject: Confusing FUDDERS

I think SCO is being very confusing on purpose.

According to SCO, their suit is based on contract law, not copyright. And there is some question if SCO even owns the copyrights.

The 1500 letters to Linux users and 100's of lines of copied code matters with regard to copyright. And so far there is no copyright action.

The question that needs to be answered for SCO to win their suit against IBM is what IBM employees did that breached the contract. Lines of code don't matter unless IBM employees are proved to have submitted them.

If IBM contributed SCO proprietary methods and concepts to Linux, SCO could win without needing a single "line of code" to be copied.

If June is "show and tell" month, why doesn't SCO "show and tell" some evidence that might actually matter in the suit they filed rather than producing copyright smoke and mirrors under NDA?

Message ID: 10241
Posted By: walterbyrd
Posted On: 2003-06-02 08:33:00
Subject: Re: why does SCO need an NDA?

If the code is out there already, as SCOX claims; then how is SCOX protecting any trade secret?

SCOX has stated that they don't want the offending code deleted before they have a chance to present it in court, but that makes no sense. SCOX need only have a Linux source code CD with the offending code.

Why an NDA - is a very good question. I would like to a reasonable answer.

Message ID: 10373
Posted By: martin_lvnv
Posted On: 2003-06-02 15:22:00
Subject: Trade secrets for $100, please

Possibly SCO is going to claim IBM violated SCO's trade secrets. What would it take for SCO to win?

First, trade secrets have to be secret. Unix internals have been taught as an example in universities for 30 years. Anything that was taught anywhere is the world isn't a trade secret.

Second, anything in Unix or BSD up to '93 doesn't count due to the settlement.

Third, anything IBM developed or techniques developed and published by Intel or other companies doesn't count. For instance any techniques used by Sequent when they made Unix scale up to 32 x86 cpus doesn't count.

For SCO to win it has to prove SCO and only SCO had some technique that was added to the Unix codebase after '93 that no other company used/discussed or published. And that IBM only found out about it from their codebase. And they can prove that IBM itself gave it to Linux.

I live in Las Vegas and occasionally have been known to make a wager. What do you think the chances that SCO and only SCO had some unknown technique that IBM didn't know except from the SCO license that was implemented in Linux recently?

Pretty small, I'd say.

Message ID: 10598
Posted By: martin_lvnv
Posted On: 2003-06-03 14:18:00
Subject: How long can SCO hide?

There are a bunch of articles talking about how there *could be* someones proprietary code in Linux. Lots of things *could be*. Even better for SCO would be articles talking about *what is*.

SCO has been asked by many to detail what Linux code they claim is theirs without even needing to show any of their own code. They have refused.

They claim to be willing to show code to a few selected people under NDA "real soon now". What reason could SCO have for hiding the IP at issue? Did the RIAA refuse to specify what songs violated copyright when suing Napster? Were they only willing to show a few music critics under NDA?

What is the first thing that would happen if SCO publically disclosed their claimed property in Linux? There would be immediate research by a large group of people to find the exact creator and history of the code in question. I expect details of authorship would be almost instantly published.

If it were SCOs code this research wouldn't hurt and in fact would prove their case. On the other hand, if their claims turned out to be just smoke and mirrors, it would hurt their case.

I expect SCO is going to do whatever will help their case. Interesting they are acting like disclosing information will hurt their position.

Are they scared of the truth? How long is that going to work?

Message ID: 20515
Posted By: martin_lvnv
Posted On: 2003-07-22 17:12:00
Subject: What is SCOs IP?

There are four generally accepted areas of IP law. One is trademark, but SCOs IP is not the unix trademark - thats owned by the Open Group. Its not patents - you can look up patents at the patent office; they are public. SCO doesn't have or claim to have patents. It can't be trade secrets. While SCO might have a case against IBM if IBM published SCOs trade secrets or donated them to Linux, once they are published or donated they aren't secret anymore and Linux users can use whatever methods SCO considers their trade secrets wihout SCO being able to get damages or license payments from Linux users. Its also impossible to believe that code that implements the published POSIX standard could be considered to use some company's trade secrets.

That leaves copyright. Copyright protects "authors". In other words, the actual writers of software or the companies that employ them (depending on the contract between the programmer and the company). Under copyright law, you can sue if someone uses *code* *you* created. However, it only protects the exact expression of the idea - that means the exact code, not what the code does or the methods the code implements. It also only protects the author. So using copyright, SCO can't sue for code another company wrote and donated to Linux or for code that implements similar features that might be in Unix. SCO is limited to pretty much word for word copying from Unix to Linux. Shouldn't be surprising - its called "copyright", of course it has to deal with copying.

I don't think there is much if any code directly copied from Unix to Linux. If so, removing it removes the copyright problem. What SCO wants is people to leave their code in Linux and pay SCO a license for it. That doesn't seem to be what Linux users will choose to do. SCO seems screwed.

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