So has anyone in Europe been threatened then? Surely they have even less of
a case in Europe?
Open source group files complaint against SCO
By Sam Varghese
July 23 2003
An open source grouping has gone on the offensive against the SCO Group
after the latter told companies using Linux to pay up or else face liability
for running the open source operating system.
Open Source Victoria today filed a complaint with the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission, asking it to investigate SCO's activities in light
of "unsubstantiated claims and extortive legal threats for money" against
possibly hundreds of thousands of Australians.
OSV member Con Zymaris said "We take serious issue with The SCO Group's
latest ploy, namely that of seeking licence fees from Linux users. As such,
we have filed a complaint with the ACCC. We call on any Australian Linux
users who feel pressured by SCO's actions to immediately contact the ACCC
and file a complaint. You can do this online."
Zymaris said that with its latest move, SCO had crossed the line. "They're
basically saying 'you owe use money'. But if someone asks 'why do I owe you
money', they reply, "we can't tell you why, but you have to pay us anyway',"
In March, SCO filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against IBM, alleging the
latter had included SCO's Unix code in the Linux kernel. SCO also claimed
that Linux was an unauthorised derivative of Unix and warned commercial
Linux users that they could be legally liable for violation of intellectual
copyright. SCO later expanded its claims against IBM to US$3 billion in June
when SCO said it had withdrawn IBM's licence for its own Unix, AIX.
Another OSV member Andrew Pam said the organisation believed there may be a
case to answer on the issue of "misrepresentation of need", where an
organisation was suggesting that people must make payments that they were
not obligated to make.
Pam said: "All of the Linux operating system has been released as Open
Source software. We want to remind the IT industry that by definition, there
are absolutely no licence fees payable on Free and Open Source Software.
Anyone who claims that licence fees are required for Linux is deliberately
misleading and confusing the public."
Zymaris said SCO's recent registration of copyright to the legacy Unix
System V source code, on which SCO already claims copyright, in no way
affected Linux. "Copyright registration is a simple filing procedure which
merely formally registers a claim and does not in any way constitute proof
of ownership," he said.
"SCO has yet to prove its claims of the existence of any disputed source in
the Linux codebase. Linux was written from scratch by a global community of
free software volunteers and IT corporations.
"We believe that SCO will find it extremely difficult to cement their claims
in court, and until they do, they are spreading fear to extract money from
innocent users. We believe this is unethical and possibly illegal in
Zymaris said that even if SCO could show that any Unix System V source code
was present in the Linux kernel (and was not intentionally contributed by
SCO's own staff) SCO could not absolve itself as for the past few months, it
had been publishing all such code publicly under the GNU Public License.
"This releases all supposedly disputed code from any additional encumbrances
from SCO, meaning that all users can use Linux with impunity. Through their
insistence on withholding public disclosure of any worthwhile evidence in
this case, The SCO Group are leaving an impression that they have no such
evidence," Zymaris. said. "One feels that this whole fiasco is the IT
industry equivalent of a Nigerian scam or internet extortion ploy."
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