Lowry also questioned claims on Wednesday by SCOs McBride that Novell executives had not shown up for a meeting with SCO at which time SCO would have been willing to show them the actual violations in dispute. "That was the first I heard of that, and I have no knowledge of such an event," he said. A SCO spokesman would not immediately comment on SVRx and had not responded to eWEEK by print time."To Novells knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCOs purchase of Unix from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights. We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected," Messman said in the letter. But SCO disputed these claims in a statement released on Wednesday. The Lindon, Utah-based firm maintains that it owns the contract rights to the Unix operating system. "SCO has the contractual right to prevent improper donations of Unix code, methods or concepts into Linux by any Unix vendor. "Copyrights and patents are protection against strangers. Contracts are what you use against parties you have relationships with. From a legal standpoint, contracts end up being far stronger than anything you could do with copyrights. SCOs lawsuit against IBM does not involve patents or copyrights. SCOs complaint specifically alleges breach of contract, and SCO intends to protect and enforce all of the contracts that the company has with more than 6,000 licensees. "We formed SCOsource in January 2003 to enforce our Unix rights and we intend to aggressively continue in this successful path of operation," the company said. Richard Seibt, the CEO of leading Linux distributor SuSE Linux A.G. also weighed in on the controversy yesterday, telling eWEEK in an interview that "I have seen the contract, and it contains specific asset exclusions." Seibt also welcomed the contents of the Novell letter. "This is a very important development as I think we will see very soon who is right and who is wrong. They are talking about a public contract document between the two parties," he said.
This questioning of SCOs ownership of the copyright and patents to Unix System V comes just a day after Novell released a copy of a letter its CEO Jack Messman sent to SCO CEO Darl McBride, in which Messman pointed out that the asset purchase agreement entered into between Novell and SCO in 1995 did not transfer these rights to SCO. Novell also asked SCO to back up its assertion that certain Unix System V code has been copied into Linux.