Novell Inc has published the latest in a series of letters between itself and SCO Group Inc, this time appearing to scotch SCO’s claims that it has rights over IBM Corp’s own Unix modifications.
Lindon, Utah-based SCO’s claim that code developed or acquired by IBM and included in its AIX and Dynix operating systems should be considered derivatives of its Unix System V code is central to its modified copyright infringement claims against IBM.
Needless to say, IBM disagrees with this view, and Novell’s latest letter to SCO, dated February 6, appears to back it up. Novell is the former owner of the Unix System V code, having acquired it from AT&T before selling it to Santa Cruz Operation that sold it to Caldera, which changed its name to SCO.
Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell cites the April 1985 issue of $ echo, AT&T’s newsletter for Unix System V licensees, in which the company explained changes to the SVRx license agreement to clarify the ownership of modifications or derivative works prepared by a licensee.
SCO’s belief that it retains rights over derivatives or modifications is based on its reading of Section 2.01 of the software agreements: Such right to use includes the right to modify such Software Product and to prepare derivative works based on such Software Product, provided the resulting materials are treated hereunder as part of the original Software Product.
As far as SCO is concerned, this means technologies such as the AIX Journaling File System, the AIX Enterprise Volume Management System, and the Dynix Remove Copy Update should be treated as part of the original Unix System V code, and therefore should not have been donated to Linux.
According to Novell, the changes to Section 2.01 cited by AT&T in April 1985’s $ echo included the adding of sentence stating that AT&T claims no ownership interest in any portion of such a modification or derivative work that is not part of a Software Product.
AT&T then again clarified this sentence in August 1985’s $ echo, in which it wrote: The last sentence was added to assure licensees that AT&T will claim no ownership in the software that they developed – only the portion of the software developed by AT&T.
In the letter Novell also repeated its claims that it retained the right to require SCO to alter rights to System V licensees and directed SCO to waive any right to require IBM to treat AIX and Dynix code with the same confidentiality as the System V code.
SCO, of course, also denies that Novell has retained such rights, and has argued in its motion to modify its case against IBM that Big Blue has induced Novell to make such claims. SCO has also launched a slander lawsuit against Novell, which Novell has requested be moved from the District of Utah to a federal court.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire