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Novell Beats SCO…Again

It’s one thing to vow that you won’t go down without a fight…and it’s another to tilt at windmills. A Utah jury has found that Novell owns the copyrights to Unix. The ruling perhaps puts the final nail in the coffin of SCO‘s claims that Linux infringes on copyright it acquired from Novell…although SCO still maintains Linux includes proprietary code that would need to be licensed from SCO.

“This decision is good news for Novell, for Linux, and for the open source community,” said Novell CEO and presidents Ron Hovsepian, in a statement. “We have long contended that this effort against Linux has no foundation, and we are pleased that the jury, in a unanimous decision, agrees. I am proud of Novell’s role in protecting the best interests of Linux and the open source community.”

The case dates back to 2003. SCO claimed it purchased Unix copyrights from Novell when it sold its Unix business to SCO; SCO also claims IBM misappropriated proprietary Unix code and illegally included it in the open source Unix operating system. To date, despite high-flying claims of irrefutable evidence and several trials, SCO has yet to demonstrate a single instance of misappropriated code.

SCO’s long-running attacks on Linux have made the company a pilloried figure in the open source community. Although SCO has won a few legal victories—most notably a ruling that led to a this re-consideration of Novell’s copyrights—the drawn out legal battle has forced the company into bankruptcy.

The Utah jury’s finding apparently puts an end to SCO’s pursuit of the Unix copyrights; however, the company says it intends to continue pushing on with its claims IBM misappropriated code, basing its arguments on contract law rather than copyright law.

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