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02 May 2008, 11:21

Novell demands $19.9m in fees from SCO

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The legal dispute between SCO and Novell over ownership of Unix has reached hearings over how much SCO will have to pay Novell in licensing fees. Novell, which as plaintiff has already won the first round in which a ruling was made over who owns the copyright to Unix and UnixWare, is demanding $19,979,561 precisely. This, according to Novell, is the total amount of licensing fees paid to SCO by Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and other companies. The amount is disputed by SCO representatives, who claim that the transactions with Sun and Microsoft related to licensing deals with no connection to Novell's claims against it.

The day of hearings, reported on by an observer from Groklaw, illustrated both parties' strategies clearly. Counsel for Novell insisted on payment of outstanding licensing fees for all business which took place under the SCOsource banner. Counsel for SCO Group's argument was that the licence agreements in question related to other matters, claiming that the agreement with Microsoft was restricted to OpenServer, the agreement with Sun to the Unix System V derivative UnixWare, developed by Novell. He claimed that the term Unix was used as a general term as a linguistic convenience and not to mean a specific version of Unix System V. This claim may give rise to a few raised eyebrows, since in 2003, then SCO boss Darl McBride, at a press presentation at the CDXPO trade show of the source code allegedly incorporated into Linux, expressly asserted claims for title to Unix System V, in a 5 point breakdown.

(Detlef Borchers)


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