The SCO IP license: now it's Europe's turn

'Introductory pricing'

SCO is to extend its controversial IP licences into the UK, France and other European countries from today. SCO plans to make SCO Intellectual Property License available to many more countries and regions by February 1.

The SCO IP License is offered at an "introductory pricing" of $699 per server processor and $199 US per desktop processor. The company is also offering the license to embedded device manufacturers who use Linux to run their devices.

The license "permits the use of SCO's intellectual property, in binary form only, as contained in Linux distributions". And just who (not counting Microsoft and Sun) has bought this license so far? Very few, judging by SCO's Q4 results, which recorded SCOsource licensing revenues of $10.3 million for the quarter up until October 31.

SCO's claims stem from its purchase (as Caldera) of Unix System V assets from Novell in 1995. They are widely contested by big vendors, as well as by the Linux and free software communities. SCO is currently suing IBM for $3bn on IP infringement grounds. It is also threatening to take legal action against users. In response, some Linux vendors (HP and most recently Novell) have offered to indemnify users against legal action by SCO.

Darl McBride, president and CEO of SCO, said: "Indemnification programs or legal defence funds won't change the fact that SCO's intellectual property is being found in Linux. SCO is willing to enforce our copyright claims down to the end user level and in the coming days and weeks, we will make this evident in our actions."

Readers will note that, as with previous announcements, SCO continues to say legal action is imminent without saying when it will begin.

In the meantime, SCO is trying to spin Novell's recently announced indemnification program in its favour.

McBride said: "By announcing the program they [Novell] are acknowledging the problems with Linux. Through the restrictions and the limitations on the program, they are showing their unwillingness to bet very much on their position." ®

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