[Talk] SCO vs. IBM - the gloves come off...

Greg Rose ggr at qualcomm.com
Fri Jun 20 02:13:18 EST 2003

At 01:16 PM 6/19/2003 +0930, david.newall at auug.org.au wrote:
>Greg Rose <ggr at qualcomm.com> wrote:
> > At 12:16 PM 6/18/2003 +0930, david.newall at auug.org.au wrote:
> >>I'm sure they'll stop distributing AIX.
> >
> > Rubbish.
>That's a bit strong, isn't it?

I don't think of the word "rubbish" as being a strong term. Since you do, I 
retract it and apologise. I still disagree with you, though! :-)

> > It's a civil matter. Until a court issues an injunction, they're no
> > worse off, given that they've registered their disagreement, than if
> > they stop.
>Are you certain it's civil?  Presumably SCO would claim a breach of
>copyright, which I think is a criminal matter.

IANAL; by my understanding of the terms, in the US, it's a civil matter, 
between the two parties only. No one stands to go to jail, no matter how 
bad it gets. I could easily be wrong, though.

>Just suppose SCO wins.  Just suppose IBM continues to distribute AIX in
>the mean time.  Having won, it will be clear that IBM have violated SCO's
>copyright.  Would you, were you in IBM's legal team, permit that risk?
>The damages would be astronomical, not to mention that the board would
>almost certainly be criminaly negligent (they have a duty of care to
>their shareholders.)

If SCO wins, they will be given damages for *all* the copies of AIX that 
were distributed since the act of breaching copyright occurred, some years 
ago according to SCO. At this point, the ones that happened before a week 
or two ago will completely swamp the ones that occurred in the last two 
weeks... so IBM might well reason that continuing to ship AIX and absorbing 
any possibility of further damages causes less harm to their business than 
stopping shipments, halting production lines, and so on. I don't believe 
that they're any more liable for shipping a copy of AIX post-accusation 
than they were pre-accusation. Of course, all that changes if a court 
decides that SCO has a credible claim and issues an interim injunction. But 
SCO haven't even asked for one! Probably because if they don't get it, it's 
all over.


Greg Rose                                       INTERNET: ggr at qualcomm.com
Qualcomm Australia          VOICE:  +61-2-9817 4188   FAX: +61-2-9817 5199
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