Now that The SCO Group Inc. has made good on its threat to send out letters to approximately 1500 companies for their use of Linux, the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) has replied with the creation of a $10 million Linux Legal Defense Fund (LLDF).
The LLDF is meant to defray legal expenses of Linux users involved in SCO Linux-related litigation. The fund is sponsored by IBM, SCOs main target in its intellectual property legal actions; MontaVista Software Inc, an embedded Linux vendor; and semiconductor giant Intel Corp.
Chuck Mulloy, Intel spokesperson, explains that Intel is supporting this fund because “Intel received one of SCOs hundreds of letters, and so have our customers, and we believe we have an obligation to act in the best interest of our shareholders and our customers.”
Intel isnt merely defending itself though. Intel, a member of the OSDL, is also doing this because of SCOs “refusal to reveal specific details about its claimed intellectual property violations and its continuing threats to Linux users, By refusing to show the basis for its claims, SCO has prevented also open-source groups from providing a remedy for any infringements if there are any,” Mulloy said.
Marc Modersitzki, SCO spokesman, replied, “The remedy were seeking, by defending our intellectual property, is within the court system. In the long term, that is the best place to do that.”
Mulloy was unable to say exactly how much Intel has contributed to LLDF, but did say, “Were doing our fair share given our stature in the industry.”
At this point, the fund has only $3 million dollars, but Stuart Cohen, CEO of Beaverton, Ore.-based OSDL, is certain that OSDL will meet its goal with donations from individuals, organizations and companies.
According to Cohen, “This fund sends a clear message that OSDL, in cooperation with others throughout the Linux industry, will stand firm against legal threats levied by The SCO Group.”
SCO, however, is unimpressed. According to Modersitzki, these vendors actions dont change the fact that “SCOs intellectual property is being found in Linux. Commercial end users of Linux that continue to use SCOs intellectual property without authorization are in violation of SCOs copyrights. SCO continues to publicly show evidence of this infringement. We invite interested parties to view some of this evidence for themselves.”
This site, however, according to Modersitzki, has not been updated with any new informaton.
However, Modersitzki says, today SCO is turning over to IBM the “additional details, documents and code” that the U.S. District Court in Utah required SCO to present to IBM on December 5, 2003. These are the materials that SCO claims supports its intellectual property and contractual claims against IBM and Linux.
In the meantime, though, as the IBM and SCO court case slowly moves forward, Darl McBride, SCOs president says, “If vendors feel so confident with the intellectual property foundation under their massive contributions into Linux, then they should put their money where their mouth is and protect end users with true vendor-based indemnification.”
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