Vague Language

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-06-11 Print this article Print

In other words, during a span of months—or years, since SCO versus IBM isnt scheduled to go to court now until November 1, 2005—SCO could lose its copyright claims, and thus all of its other cases, during the ongoing Novell proceedings.

Graham notes that lawyers watching the case should take "warning against the use of vague language in essential business agreements which relate to intellectual property."
"This underlines, well beyond the scope of this case, the importance such agreements pay in the knowledge economy."

Even if SCO wins some copyrights to Unix from the federal court, the Lindon, Utah, company still isnt out of legal hot water. Graham comments, "Judge Kimball wisely notes that even if the APA/Amendment No. 2 documents are held to be a valid transfer of copyright, the question remains what version of the Unix code might have been assigned by it. "SCO could only claim copyright in that particular code, and perhaps not in other Unix versions or code. So, this could raise additional issues for SCO."

Such a result, I think, would be almost as bad for SCO as not having any copyright. If the court rules that way, then Novell and SCO would both have Unix copyrights, and the mind boggles at what this would do to SCOs case against IBM.

So, while SCO versus IBM makes most of the headlines, its this case, SCO versus Novell, thats the really vital one. Without a win here, SCO loses it all. Its that simple. And, with this decision, the odds against SCO winning just got longer, a lot longer. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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