Raymond Disputes Trade Secrets Claim

By Pamela Jones

June 23, 2003

Eric Raymond claims to have 60 people willing to sign affidavits that they had "read access to proprietary Unix source code... under circumstances where either no non-disclosure agreement was required or whatever non-disclosure agreement [they] had was not enforced." PCWorld [ http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,111257,00.asp ] asked an IP lawyer if this would help IBM's case:

"The No Secrets site [ http://catb.org/~esr/nosecrets/ ] might help IBM's case, depending on how Raymond's Linux users got their access to the code, says Jeffrey Neuburger, a technology lawyer with Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner, who has been following the SCO-IBM case.

"If users legitimately had access to the System V source code, it 'would certainly undermine [SCO's] trade secret and misappropriation claims,' Neuburger says. 'If these 60 people that have signed the affidavits have stolen the source code that wouldn't help.'"

The article doesn't mention it, but it is worth pointing out that violating someone's trade secret can be a criminal as well as a civil offense. Raymond states [ http://catb.org/~esr/nosecrets/legal.html ] "You take no risk by telling me you have had read access to UNIX source code." That isn't true. If anyone stole the source code or gained illegal access, they are taking a risk by signing up, for sure. I doubt anyone did, but to say that there is no risk is not accurate. Here's just one article [ http://www.gcwf.com/gcc/GrayCary-C/News--Arti/Newsletter/ip/0210/tradesecret1.html ] to demonstrate.

4:20:34 AM

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