CyberTech Rambler

March 31, 2010

Did SCO argued that Copyright must had transfered because they need it to start SCOSource?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:16 pm

I heard the news yesterday my time: SCO did not have t he copyright!

That is great news instead. But it is not over.

From what I read from the Groklaw members’ account from the court house throughout the trial, it confirms to me that the  opening statements are about setting the tone of the trial, the main body of the trial, where witnesses are called,  is simply to present piecemeal information, and the closing argument stitch all of them together into one coherent argument. That was why I was rereading the eye their account of the closing arguments from SCO again and again to try to understand their arguments.

The notes are patchy compared to a transcript and I do hope we will get to see the transcript one day. May be I was reading it one to many time and starts to see things that are not there. For sure, none of the Groklaw members’ had that impression. I need to see the transcript, but I have the feeling that it is possible that SCO is arguing since they need the copyright to pursue the SCOSource business, therefore Amendment 2 must had transferred the copyright?

Far fetch? Yes. We however knows that SCO is good when it comes to tinkering with the impossible. Think about it. It is not improbable.

SCO bought the Unix business from Novell. The Unix business SCO brought is, as SCO will argue, not restricted to collecting and remitting royalty. Most importantly, it allows them to start new businesses or as they would argue, expand the Unix business they bought. Amendment 2 is a promise from Novell to transfer copyright to SCO if they need it for the Unix business they bought and crucially this will include any new business or expanded Unix business.

Since  SCOSource is an expansion of the  Unix business, therefore, Novell, by nature of Amendment 2, must transfer copyright to SCO because without it, there is no SCOSource.

I know this is not what a layman actually understands when one read the Asset Purchase Agreement and the amendments to it. However, it is a valid prong of attack. After all, the APA is indeed vague on the expansion of the Unix business SCO acquired in this direction. Sure, it covers new potential licensees to the Unix source code, but anyone reading it would says it only covers people who use the source code directly and does not cover Linux, whose independent development from Unix is very strong. Moreover, most people in the technology world would had say that this is simply lawyers tidying up loose ends in the APA. Nobody expects any new people to pay money for the old source code, but existing licensees may want to expand their rights. Unfortunately, wording to tie up loose ends can have unintended consequences, and SCO hope what it wants to do qualify.

I think in some sense, Novell’s lawyers, intentionally or unintentionally, covered this in their defense. They draw a big bright line between SVRX (the Unix code SCO bought the management right to) and UnixWare (SCO’s own Unix). By separating the two, they strengthen the argument that the Unix part of the business do not cover the expansion that SCOSource wants and need.

Anyway, enough of speculating. Let’s just wait for the transcript. I don’t think I am right, but will be interesting to see whether it is just remotely possible that the lawyers had argued this.

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