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SCO v. Novell Goes To the Jury

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the perhaps-it's-the-oj-jury dept.

The Courts 67

Excelcia writes "Closing arguments in the six and a bit year old slander of title case between SCO and Novell occurred today and the case is finally in the hands of the jury. It's been an interesting case, with SCO alternately claiming that the copyrights to UNIX did get transferred to them, and that the copyrights should have been transferred to them. 'Judge Ted Stewart said, after the jury left to begin to deliberate, that in all his years on the bench, he's never seen such fine lawyering as in this case.' We're not going to find out the results until at least Tuesday, however, as one juror is taking a long weekend. Great lawyering notwithstanding, we can all hope next week that the Energizer bunny of all spurious lawsuits will finally go away."

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Finally (1, Insightful)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31634692)

It's about bloody time

Re:Finally (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635192)

It took so long because someone used the Chewbacca defense.

Re:Finally (2, Funny)

humphrm (18130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636138)

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.

About time (1)

kelarius (947816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31634702)

And here I was thinking it had already gone away... Silly me.

Still out there litigating? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31634778)

Die! Die! Die! Why won't you just fuckin die?!?!

Re:Still out there litigating? (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635830)

Die! Die! Die! Why won't you just fuckin die?!?!

Stick a fork in it, it's done. Wait... that's what usually happens when a UNIX variant dies... Someone forks it.

Re:Still out there litigating? (3, Funny)

kale77in (703316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636560)

Forks? Well there's your problem. Try stabbing it with steely knives!

Re:Still out there litigating? (2, Funny)

highplansdrifter (1017356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636624)

I think they just can't kill the beast.

Re:Still out there litigating? (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636812)

I hate the fucking eagles, man.

Re:Still out there litigating? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31639918)

I hate the fucking eagles, man.

I guess we all can't be competent judges of music...

Re:Still out there litigating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31639040)

Steel? By the number of times SCO has risen from the grave, they need silver and garlic.

Re:Still out there litigating? (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31657400)

Rule 4: Doubletap

Re:Still out there litigating? (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636042)

Die! Die! Die! Why won't you just fuckin die?!?!

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. McBride, and ideas are bulletproof.

Re:Still out there litigating? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638626)

McBride was given his walking papers from SCO awhile back by the bankruptcy guy running SCO now. Doesn't seemed to have affected their behavior. And McBride is still wandering around witless with his own company and some startup money looking to catch some of SCO's Imaginary Property.

Re:Still out there litigating? (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31656016)

Who's turn is next at beating the corpse of SCO though? There was a whole bunch of companies lined up waiting for this trial to end so they could sue SCO.. IBM, Red Hat, Autozone..

Re:Still out there litigating? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31658302)

They aren't. Law suits are expensive and winning against a bankrupt company does score beeeellions of $. There is one other court case which might give the corpse a proper Viking burial, IBM. Autozone is a dead duck of a court case, SCOX started it. Red Hat might have counter-sued but the judge, Sue Robinson, seems to be one of the most witless. Anyhow, the case stayed until the IBM case is over. IBM doesn't care about SCOX, just that they go away. They don't need a victory for that to happen, just SCOX death by hook or by crook.

A six year case (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31634788)

super fine lawyering and the jury will return a verdict by Tuesday? Hmmmm... me thinks the case was already decided long ago. For whom? We shall see.

Re:A six year case (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636406)

and the jury will return a verdict by Tuesday?

No. One of the jurors had a vacation or something planned for this weekend and won't be back until Monday.

Because of that, the judge agreed that the jury didn't have to reconvene until Tuesday.

So there will be no verdict until Tuesday at the earliest.

Re:A six year case (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638650)

Yep, apparently the juror was "disraught" because she couldn't go on a vacation to Las Vegas with the family. I think with quality jurors like this, it doesn't look good for Novell. SCO presented no evidence the copyrights to SVRX 4.2MP transferred to old SCO. In fact, there is an amendment to the contract stating they did not transfer and that was because old SCO didn't have the money. But new SCO thinks they should have transferred regardless, hence this baseless lawsuit and the moronic court system that allowed this fetid pile of dingo kidneys of a lawsuit to proceed.

Re:A six year case (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31680420)

Yep - over. The jury decided long ago. Yay for Linux, well as long as Novell is never purchased by Larry anyway!

Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31634790)

Prediction: SCO will suffer a crushing defeat, and then the appeal machinery will start humming again. The final words in this judicial failure will not be said for decades yet.

Re:Prediction (2, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635394)

It is the final chapter however.

As an issue of fact, the ownership of the UNIX copyrights is not very open for appeal unless something screwy happens.

Unfortunately, having the issue decided by twelve idiots who couldn't get out of jury duty, and who probably further got picked clean of any sanity during voir dire doesn't cut it.

Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31634822)

Linux and the BSDs have pretty much made UNIX obsolete. Why spend so much money fighting over something so fucking worthless and anachronistic?

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

fenix849 (1009013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635006)

Probably try to trade the copyrights with other companies dealing in unix for patents etc and go after everyone that's pushing the modern x86 variants.

Only it won't work because nobody in the unix community will touch this litigious piece of trash with a 20 ft barge pole.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (4, Informative)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636172)

Linux and the BSDs have pretty much made UNIX obsolete.

I don't know about Linux, but BSD definitely contained Unix code from USL, and vice-versa. They settled out of court [wikipedia.org] . Should ever SCO decided to go after BSD, it would open a big can of worms [freebsd.org] . More details can be found in The Unix Heritage Society [tuhs.org] and Bitsavers [bitsavers.org] Archives.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637362)

anyone going after BSD would need to go after one of the finest law schools in america, with almost unlimited grad and post grad students available to do research work and law professors as well as other practising lawyers working at virtually nil cost to the university.

sounds frightening doesn't it? hence the reason SCO didn't even think about attacking BSD, and instead went after linux users like IBM, because IBM was soft in comparision even though i believe there is a quote from IBM somewhere that states they will "turn the skies over utha black with lawyers" before they let SCO win.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638390)

I think they did not go after BSD as Microsoft uses (has used) BSD. They do not care about the rest. And rightfully so. You should go after somebody if you think you are in the right not based on the quality of the lawyers. Because that would mean your legal system is completely fucked up.

If that would be the case, say a big music consortium could go after individuals and just take whatever they want. That would never ..., oh, wait, never mind.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639806)

> Because that would mean your legal
> system is completely fucked up.

Like, for instance, every human legal system ever?

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

dave87656 (1179347) | more than 4 years ago | (#31645692)

The battle over BSD was fought along time ago when BSD removed a small remaining amount of ATT code to become complete independent of Unix. BSD, at least core BSD, should be pretty safe from lawsuits. And that's the reason companies like MS won't press their lawsuits against Linux, because they know it would be pretty easy for users to move to FreeBSD and that the mere threat of lawsuits is enough to discourage mass acceptance.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (4, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637434)

1. Since settlement was not disclosed at the time, BSD development continued with 4.4-Lite, that was specifically created to exclude everything that was disputed with USL.

2. This can of worms WAS opened during SCO saga, and resulted in the whole thing being disclosed to the publuc [groklaw.net] . Basically, USL secretly agreed to stop being a bunch of assholes.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (3, Interesting)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637444)

Not to mention OpenSolaris, which because of the SVR4 code, Sun had to ask permission from SCO in 2003 before they could open source. After the ruling that Novell really owned the SVR4 code, Judge Dale Kimball wrote that [groklaw.net] : "In this case, Sun obtained the rights to opensource Solaris, and SCO received the revenue for granting such rights even though such rights remained with Novell. If the court were to declare that the contract was void and should be set aside, the court could not return the parties to the same position they were in prior to the 2003 Agreement. Sun has already received the benefits of the agreement and developed and marketed a product based on those benefits. There was also evidence at trial that OpenSolaris directly competed with Novell’s interest. The court, therefore, cannot merely void the contract."

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638370)

All those things have not stopped SCO in the past. They will sue their own mother for being born as long is there is a shimmer of hope they can make a cent out of it. Their reasoning is completely irrational, so do not be surprised if they go after BSD or Apple. There does not need to be a reason.

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

yossarianuk (1402187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638518)

SCO won't go after BSD because Microsoft didn't give them funding to do so (unlike Linux)

MS sees Linux as more of a threat to their core business, no matter what advancements have been made in BSD desktop usage it is perceived to be 'behind' Linux in terms of software/hardware support.

Who know' s maybe they are waiting to go after Apple one day (who use a version of BSD)

Re:Is UNIX even worth suing over these days? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638252)

...vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
Henry A. Kissinger

So which one has the Chicken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31634862)

You know, Futurama's 'simple country lawyer chicken'...

Non-tech jury (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635196)

It's highly unlikely they let anyone on the jury that has heard of Linux, must less understand what it stands for. Heck, they definitely never heard of SCO and unlikely heard of Novell. Maybe it'll come down to which side had the most people that look like native people of Utah (Mormons, not indigenous natives).

I'd hate to be on that jury... (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635212)

Can you imagine having to sit through SIX YEARS of a case? The last time I was summoned for jury duty it took three days until I was dismissed from selection and I was already pissed at everyone involved for wasting my time.

Re:I'd hate to be on that jury... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31635446)

The jury portion of the trial started on March 8 (link is to a PDF) [groklaw.net] .

Re:I'd hate to be on that jury... (1, Redundant)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635774)

Why the hell is this scored "0"? Somebody, please, +1 informative?

Re:I'd hate to be on that jury... (0, Troll)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636222)

Why the hell is this scored "0"? Somebody, please, +1 informative?

Probably because this particular case is only three weeks old. This is not the IBM case, nor is it the original Novell case.

Re:I'd hate to be on that jury... (3, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636612)

Actually, it is the original Novell case.

The March 8th date was just the date the appeals system remand-booted it back down to the trial court level.

Re:I'd hate to be on that jury... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636018)

You're an idiot.

prediction, payday for lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31635282)

incarceration for SCO :p

Kill. it. with. fire. (0)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635288)

Die. Die. Die.

Re:Kill. it. with. fire. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31639644)

alt.sco.die.die.die

FTFY

Remember: alt.noun.die.die.die

What if SCO wins? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31635454)

Will we see copyright infringements suddenly popping up on program names like cd, mkdir, netstat, or ping regardless of the differences in source code? Will sysv now be a copy-written software design that could be held to some stupid software patent? All this just because a telco wrote some names in code.
Can we trust Novell, with their financially romantic relationship with Microsoft to remain active in the Open Source community or will they become the replacement for the litigious SCO which was backed into this action with money from Redmond in the first place?

Stay tuned Penguins the wrath of Mount Rainier shall not be assuaged until the Ring formed in Redmond is thrown into the fires of mountain.

Huzzah to groklaw, and 'good grief, jurors' (0, Flamebait)

mrflash818 (226638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31635466)

Huzzah to groklaw, and 'good grief, jurors.'

I participated last year on a jury trial that lasted 3wks. I really cannot imagine trying to stay attentive and take good juror notes, for six years!

Re:Huzzah to groklaw, and 'good grief, jurors' (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31635740)

Er... No. The jurors where empaneled March 8th.

The jury was there for three weeks (3, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637098)

Basically the way this case went was:

1) Both sides file a bunch of pre-trial motions....
2) SCO loses. Case gets thrown out without prejudice
3) SCO refiles.
4) Wash, rinse, repeat
5) SCO loses key pre-trial motions, files for bankrupcy.
6) SCO puts this case on hold via bankrupcy court.
7) Eventually, six years later, it actually gets before a jury.

Six years was the period of legal struggle. Depending on how you count this case (whether re-filing counts as a new case, for example), this case is not even six years old.... However the whole struggle.....

Re:Huzzah to groklaw, and 'good grief, jurors' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637152)

Huzzah to groklaw, and 'good grief, jurors.'

I participated last year on a jury trial that lasted 3wks. I really cannot imagine trying to stay attentive and take good juror notes, for six years!

The jury portion of the trial started on March 8. They spent about as long in trial as you did.

You poor deluded fools. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31635772)

This is just the beginning!

SCO? (1)

Digital_Mercenary (136288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636542)

Does anyone even Run SCO UNIX in production anymore.

Re:SCO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637494)

I know several independent bookshops that do. It is because one guy wrote and maintains/supports bookshop software for a local market (Flanders) on top of SCO UNIX. I guess it will remain in use until he retires. I think "points of sale" apps are the main remaining niches for SCO UNIX.

Re:SCO? (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637580)

Home Hardware, a chain of hardware stores in Canada, has a POS and inventory management system called Prism that runs on SCO UNIX.

Re:SCO? (1)

Tteddo (543485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639138)

Northern Data in Maine runs it for all the towns in Maine that use them. My town ditched them last year finally.
Yeah, I couldn't believe it either.

SCO is likely to win :-( (4, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636670)

The language of the courtroom is a mix of legal jargon and programmer jargon, glued together with the English of people who went to graduate school. To the jury it's a bunch of babble.

Once you ignore all that, you're left with a sob story. The little guy is hurt. Obviously, money is required. People don't sue unless somebody else did something bad, and the trial only requires a likelyhood for a win, so there you go. SCO wins.

There is a reason SCO demanded a jury.

Re:SCO is likely to win :-( (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637120)

I am not sure. This is basically a contract case. Basically the jury has to decide whether:

1) SCO what did SCO buy in their asset purchase agreement? Was it the UNIX business? Did that include EXCLUSIVE ownership of the code?
2) Was Novell attempting to screw SCO over unfairly despite the contract?

This is not the copyright case. This is not a slander of title case even. It is a simple case of two companies engaging in a business deal and one of them later challenging the performance of the other under that deal. I think it is clear as day, and think the jury will see also that since SCO was required to pay royalties to Novell under the APA, they couldn't have purchased the copyrights.

Re:SCO is likely to win :-( (3, Informative)

Dantoo (176555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637664)

You missed out an important step.

SCO isn't SCO. Santa Cruz did the deal with Novell. Santa Cruz sold the Unix "business" to Caldera. When Santa Cruz changed their name to Tarantella, Caldera jumped in and changed its name to SCO (not Santa Cruz Operation, just SCO). Novell never signed anything over to SCO. SCO just pretends to be Santa Cruz when it benefits them.

follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637198)

if you want to know how long this will go on, follow the money trail that feeds the lawyers. As long as they have a chance to make a buck, it will continue indefinitely. When the $ dry up, it will end. End of story.

Wonderful cash cow (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636708)

  For the lawyers in this case.

  The IP case that just would not die...

  I'll bet that they find a way to keep extending it even longer.

SB

for the Lawyers (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637204)

Such a case... and you can retire.

Who should win? (2, Interesting)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637670)

I think that the facts of the case clearly support Novell.

I think that Novell should win for multiple reasons:

1/ that the copyrights did not transfer to the S.C.O.

2/ that NewSCO tried to get Novell to assign the copyrights, that Novell didn't want to do so and therefore NewSCO took Novell to court in an attempt to take the copyrights from Novell.

3/ that NewSCO has been such a slimy corporation and has been so malicious to Novell that NewSCO doesn't deserve to get the copyrights.

HOWEVER, I think that given the jury may consist of persons who may be lacking in education, and may potentially be scammers themselves (you can't tell what the predisposition of any jury person is due to not actually knowing who they are and what their background is) there is at least a chance that NewSCO's lawyers may have been able to pull the wool down far enough so that at least one person on the Jury might just have believed NewSCO's pathetic bleating.

I agree - such a stupid case as this could only ever have been strung out this long in the USA. Every country that actually has a savvy and just legal system would have thrown out this case as having no chance of success and therefore not worth following through.

Since this lawsuit started (4, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638428)

Since this lawsuit started...
I got an undergraduate degree in math.
I got a master's degree in physics.
I got a doctoral degree in physics.
I got a dog and a cat.
I meet a wonderful woman.
I married her.

Not possible. (2, Funny)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639900)

You were reading Slashdot all these years.

All what you claim above becomes thusly highly implausible (wonderful woman? Married? Yeah sure, pull the other one).

Re:Since this lawsuit started (1)

BOFHelsinki (709551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31642248)

That's great! But in poem composition I'd say you still have something to learn from LB I...

Call me cynical (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638522)

Although I truly want to see SCO pommelled into the ground, I have a niggling doubt that this may go in SCO's favour. Put it down to me having some distrust in the ability to juries, especially in complicated cases such as this. I hope I'm wrong.
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