SCO Group says it has proof of Unix copyright ownership

SCO Group president and CEO Darl McBride held a news conference Friday to challenge Novell's claim that it retained ownership of Unix copyrights in an asset sale in the mid-'90s.

"In fact, Novell does not own the Unix System 5 copyrights. All copyrights were properly transferred from Novell to SCO as part of the asset sale," said McBride. "SCO is the only rightful owner of the Unix System 5 source code and related copyrights."

McBride said the proof of that ownership was contained in a recently discovered document, dated just over a year after the 1995 Asset Purchase Agreement between Novell and SCO.

"Any question of whether the Unix copyrights were transferred to SCO under the asset purchase agreement between Novell and SCO was clarified in Amendment 2 to the Asset Purchase Agreement dated October 16, 1996," said McBride "We also reaffirm our position that portions of the Unix System 5 code are found in Linux. In addition, significant portions of derivative works of Unix System 5 code are found in Linux."

For its part, Novell said in a statement on its Web site that while it did not have the recently discovered document in its files, the amendment seemed to support SCO's assertion that it owns the copyrights for Unix. But that amendment, said Novell officials, did not deal with ownership of the patents, which Novell says it still retains.

The announcement by SCO also suggested a possible change in the company's legal strategy. In a teleconference on May 30 (, McBride said that SCO's legal actions up to that point had nothing to do with copyrights and patents.


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