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SCO Caught Copying 351

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the almost-as-funny dept.
linuxwrangler writes "While accusing everyone else of copying "their" code, SCO has meanwhile been caught copying documentation. In fact they copied several chapters of the Book of Webmin directly into their online documentation. While the book is available online, it is not licensed for redistribution. Details are sparse but it appears that SCO had to pay the publisher for using the material."
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SCO Caught Copying

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  • Oi, reminds me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:43PM (#9142434) Journal

    Things are awfully silent around SCO lately...Cat got Darl's tongue?

  • by An-Unnecessarily-Lon (761026) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:44PM (#9142447) Journal
    Yea right. I would expect that if you are going to try to destroy companies and extort money as such SCO has you would be cleaner than St. Peter. But nothing surprises me.
  • Hypocrits? (Score:4, Funny)

    by elwell642 (754833) <hallmant&dm,org> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:45PM (#9142461)
    While accusing everyone else of copying "their" code, SCO has meanwhile been caught copying documentation

    Hypocrits? ONLINE? My gosh... what is this world coming to?
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawkeyeMI (412577) <brock&brocktice,com> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:46PM (#9142470) Homepage
    The irony here is palpable. Not that we expected anything more. Aren't there suspicions that their "Linux Kernel Personality" is a direct Linux ripoff as well?
    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Funny)

      by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:07PM (#9142754) Journal
      How could be a linux ripoff if they own linux?
    • Perhaps all software vendors, commercial or not, should be audited by the open-source community to make sure they don't include stolen code.


      How else would a customer know that their business wasn't using some illegal components that they couldn't depend on in the future because their vendor might have to remove them.


      Just think if SCO or some other OS you might be using might be dependant on an illegally-copied component. Your business would be SOL if they had to remove it and couldn't find a replacement. Yipes. I think we should be insisting on audits of the commmercial packages we buy.

  • by axis-techno-geek (70545) <robNO@SPAMgoshko.ca> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:46PM (#9142481) Homepage
    I'm sure that this comes as no shock to the /. crowd

    Bad Darl, bad, go to your office with no stock options...

  • by pmiller396 (457575) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:46PM (#9142491)
    I know I speak for many on /. when I say:

    BWAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAA HAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

    thanks, I feel better now.
    • No, no, no, it goes "Haaa haaa haaa" [imdb.com]
      • on what you mean [imdb.com]:

        Phantom of Krankor: I am the Phantom of Krankor. Ha ha ha ha.

        Phantom of Krankor: I will arrive tomorrow night at precisely eight o'clock. At that time I shall make my wishes known to you. You will obey them... or die! Have a pleasant night's sleep... HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!

        Phantom Of Krankor: Come now, Professor. What a silly question. I can't be bothered to keep track of your worthless servants. We blasted him out of an airlock, so by now he's probably fallen into a star! HA, HA, H

    • [nelson]
      Haaah hah!

      Stop COPYING yourself! Stop COPYING yourself!
      [/nelson]

  • sue SCO (Score:5, Funny)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:47PM (#9142496)
    i'm going issue SCO an invoice for $699.

    i know what you're thinking. well it doesn't matter that i don't hold the copyright, isn't that right SCO?
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:47PM (#9142498) Journal
    its not that uncommon for a slimeball to go around and accuse others of doing what they themselves are doing. Thats the first sign of a cheating husband, he starts accusing his wife of running around.

    Are we really shocked that SCO was stealing someone elses IP?
  • by Hellkitten (574820) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:48PM (#9142517)

    Copyrighs on books published on the web is unconstitutional

  • Credibility (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    SCO spokesperson Blake Stowell could not be reached for comment.

    What was that phrase again "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"? This story may not be news, but it's important to note how SCO is no better than everyone else next time Darl gets on his soapbox.
    • What was that phrase again "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"?

      No, no, no, it's "People in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones."
  • Ha ha!
  • sco? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by golgafrincham (774723)
    is there anyone out there to whom sco does not seem like a big joke?

    if there was one smart person left in that company, they will remain quit, stop their court activities and die a peacefull death. i do not care about the harm sco may do to the gnu and linux community (because they do no harm), but i care about the harm they do to computer business in general. it is hard enough to raise vc nowadays, don't destroy the image of software companies any longer.
    • Re:sco? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cmowire (254489) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:59PM (#9142672) Homepage
      The problem is, they passed the point of no return a while back.

      If SCO gives up, they have lost and will go out of business rather quickly. They are not going to be able to settle so easily with IBM because IBM's out for blood.

      If SCO plods on, they are most likely to lose. But there's some chance for them to win.

      It's also the case that, even if they aren't doing a pump-n-dump on the stock, they are still getting paid huge amounts of money and will continue to do so as long as the company is a operating concern. If they give up, that happens relatively quickly. If they plod along, as long as they can avoid a ruling, they can still get paid.
  • ownership (Score:5, Funny)

    by bobthemuse (574400) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:51PM (#9142559)
    Does this mean that the authors of the Book of Webmin now own the SCO documentation? Cool!
    • by 3dr (169908) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:08PM (#9142768)
      Heh, either that or SCO will claim ownership of the Book of Webmin. You can hear them now:

      SCO: There are 10,000 pages copied from our materials
      FOSS Crowd: But the book is only 400 pages?
      SCO: Nevermind, there are still 10,000 pages taken.
      FC: OK, which pages, exactly, and what content?
      SCO: Look on the title pages and subsequent pages. The words "Copyright" and "Table of Contents" appear exactly as in our materials. Later on appears "Index". Page numbers also have a similar ordering algorithm.
      FC: Uhhhh
      SCO: This is uncontestable fact and proof!!!!11!!
      SCO: Oh, and, All Your Base Are Belong To Us.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:51PM (#9142570)

    Quite interesting [rcn.com].

  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:53PM (#9142590)
    With each passing day and new SCO article I bemoan a total lack of cash to short the hell out of SCOX. Shit, if I'd started in January I'd be buying a new car this spring.

    As to this infringement, I demand RIAA-style copyright sentencing. For each possible infringement SCO should have to pay the maximum fine, multiplied by the total possible number of people who had access to the material. Given that it's posted online on a public site, and not in a limited user base network (ala p2p) this means the entire world population had access and SCO should be fined roughly the total value of all money produced in the world from 1972 to present.

    If our justice system is going to let all these companies warp the law as they do it seems only fair they should fall prey to their own tactics.

    • Given that it's posted online on a public site, and not in a limited user base network (ala p2p) this means the entire world population had access and SCO should be fined roughly the total value of all money produced in the world from 1972 to present.
      That would be the whole world -1. Darl may appear in this reality, but he's not in it. He made up his own. He's definitely inhuman at least.
  • It's okay. (Score:5, Funny)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:54PM (#9142612)
    I hear SCO can license the Book of Webmin for the low, low price of $699 per document they want to use it in...
  • by beatnitup (616700) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:56PM (#9142633)
    "let he who is without sin cast the first lawsuit"
  • The Real Point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alaren (682568) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @02:56PM (#9142638)

    I imagine by the time I finish typing this, there will be three dozen posts about pots and kettles, people in glass houses, and throwing the first stone...

    But what we should really be focusing on is the philosophical reminder that ideas are inherently free. The ideas of licensing and patenting and copyrighting were all originally conceived as a communal, societal gift to innovators; an acknowledgement that you can't own an idea but "we'll let you make some money off it anyways."

    T.S. Eliot once said that "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal." We all know the cultural importance of the so-called "information commons," the power of a vast public domain from which we can draw ideas upon which to build. I find no fault with SCO for what they did--only for their hipocrisy in doing so.

    Because really, aren't we all sick of lawyers trolling (no pun intended) the web for minor perceived infringements? Information wants to be free. Let's applaud SCO for acting accordingly... and suggest they use this as the beginning of a new, better, somewhat less hypocrisy-prone company.

    • Re:The Real Point (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stevesliva (648202)
      It's not "information," it's unique creative works that are protected. If you want to protect your "information," you keep it secret as best you can. If you want to share your "information," you copyright your work and begin publishing it. People can use your "information" but cannot copy you verbatim.
  • by Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:13PM (#9142819)
    SCUM announced today the latest version of their Lawsuit Generator Wizard package. The updated version now has a web enabled user interface. "Using our patented lawsuit generator, companies can quickly and efficiently file numerous complaints without leaving their computer." said Blame Snowell. "People can now generate lawsuits from anywhere that has Internet access", said Darn McNugget, "even from non extradition treaty countries."

    The new version has a simpler user interface than previous versions. The user answers a series of simple questions. Many questions are multiple choice.

    For instance: "Do you want to sue a [x] current or [_] former [x] customer or [_] business partner? Do you have an existing contract to use against them?

    You can specify a defendant, or the software can randomly assign a defendant. Administrivia such as filing the documents with the court, sending copies to the defendant's lawyers, and generating the certificate of service is handled automatically. The Professional Edition will generate motions and memorandums in support of those motions.

    New modules in the updated package include the Affirmative Defense generator which automatically answers each of the defendant's counterclaims. For particularly unfavorable counterclaims, a motion to dismiss is automatically generated. In the Professional Edition, a new Case Law History module has been added. This module can find marginally relevant case law and then selectively quote favorable sounding portions using the selective quoting tool.

    Industry rumors have been circulating that a new add on module is in the works and was expected to be released last quarter. Lack of this module has apparently been a significant setback to the company. Company officials have been unusually quiet about this. Sources suggest that the rumored package is a Lie Management add on, which can also run stand alone. It has been rumored that the core engine was licensed from Microshaft. Company officials declined to comment.

    Anonymous sources told us on condition of remaining unprosecuted, that the Lie Management module can manage competing bundles of lies that are told to multiple parties. The lie consistency checker helps keep stories straight, preventing a runaway lie cascade of escalating magnitude. A bit of truth, from a large predefined gallery, can be mixed in to give documents a professional sense of credibility.

    "This is a perfect example of how corporations can benefit from proprietary software over open source software" said analyst Lorra DiDdlings.

    Also updated is the Case Scheduling module which generates motions to unnecessarily delay the case. If multiple cases are concurrently in progress, the software is now able to coordinate the motions into a deadlock such that each case depends upon the outcome of the other cases.

    Company officials confirmed the development of a companion product, the SEC Filing wizard. This separate package will fully integrate with the Lawsuit Ganerator if both are installed together. Pricing and the expected release date were not available.

    Analyst Robber Pretenderle said "I give SCUM a 99% chance of winning their lawsuits based on their statements alone." The company's stock rose quickly on the news. (symbol: SCUM)

    About SCUM.

    SCUM, the owner of all software operating systems, is the leading provider of business lawsuits worldwide. Suing and threatening customers and business partners in over 86 countries, SCUM provides a full range of litigation fiascos. The recognized leader worldwide in providing lawsuit protection licenses, SCUM has been in business for over 25 years.

    SCUM, Lie, and Lawsuit are trademarks of The SCUM Grope. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

    This story contains forward looking statements. Investors are advised that some forward looking statements may look further out than the expected life of the company.

    Any similarity to the truth is unintentional and purely coincidental.
  • by Limburgher (523006) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:15PM (#9142833) Homepage Journal
    The book of Webmin is a great reference for a great tool. I've used both to take the initial fear of Linux out of newbie admins. Once I show them how frigging easy even SENDMAIL config is under webmin, they jump right in.
  • Perfect! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:21PM (#9142896)
    "Details are sparse..."

    This should prefix ALL slashdot stories.
  • 14:24 < chmeee> I'll say this about SCO: they have great documentation
  • Ash Sez: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moses_Gunn (778857) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:23PM (#9142930)
    Darl, it looks like you're in control of two things right now: Jack and Shit. And Jack just left town...
  • ... there must be a "Darl Strangelove" joke in here somewhere...

    on hindsight of cease and desist letters:
    "Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious. "

    on Free information:
    "Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world?"

  • Perhaps SCOX, so bedraggaled with its failing business and launghingstock license offerings hasn't had the resources necessary to devote a fine eye towards matters of intellectual propert laws such as copyrights. Fortunately, there is an expert on IP Law who has published his salient thoughts on this subject to benefit the world. Perhaps we could kindly point SCOX to this great resource to assist them in this confusing arena of proper attribution and distribution with prior permission. Below is an excerpt:
    Intellectual Property Rights Explained

    If [SCO] wants to develop products for enterprise corporations, it must respect and follow the rule of law. These rules include contracts, copyrights and other intellectual property laws. For several months SCO has been involved in a contentious legal case that we filed against IBM. What are the underlying intellectual property principles that have put SCO in a strong position in this hotly debated legal case? I'd summarize them in this way:

    1. "Fair use" applies to educational, public service and related applications and does not justify commercial misappropriation. Books and Internet sites intended and authorized for the purpose of teaching and other non-commercial use cannot be copied for commercial use. ...

    2. Copyright attributions protect ownership and attribution rights--they cannot simply be changed or stripped away. This is how copyright owners maintain control of their legal rights and prevent unauthorized transfer of ownership. ...

    3. In copyright law, ownership cannot be transferred without express, written authority of a copyright holder....

    4. Transfer of copyright ownership without express written authority of all proper parties is null and void.

    5. Use of derivative rights in copyrighted material is defined by the scope of a license grant. An authorized derivative work may not be used beyond the scope of a license grant. License grants regarding derivative works vary from license to license--some are broad and some are narrow. In other words, the license itself defines the scope of permissive use, and licensees agree to be bound by that definition. ...

    Oops, almost forgot to give attribution to the source! Ha, ha, almost slipped, and when trying to give examples of following copyright laws -- that would have been too ironic, don't you think? Anyway, here's the source for the above prescient insight into IP Laws for poor old SCO:
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:33PM (#9143063) Homepage
    SCO stock continues to drop. The chart for the last three months [yahoo.com] is almost linear, going from 14 to 5. The bump in April was apparently SCO's announced "stock buyback" program, which had little long-term effect.

    Two more points down, and SCOX will be back where it was before all the lawsuits, down around 3. That level looks likely within a month.

  • by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:42PM (#9143179) Journal
    "pimenta no cu do outros é refresco" (red peper in somebody else's arse is refreshment)
  • by Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @03:56PM (#9143323)
    FYI... There is a new article [groklaw.net] at groklaw [groklaw.net] describing a ruling in the Canopy vs. Novell case.

    For those who don't know, this is yet another case where Canopy (parent company of SCO) says that what is written in the contract isn't as important as the oral agreements they made, and that what the parties agreed to is the opposite of what the written contract says they agreed to.
  • by adiposity (684943) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @04:52PM (#9143963)
    Yes, SCO was caught violating copyright. Is there any company in the world that doesn't do this, on occasion, by accident, or because some employee pretends he wrote something he didn't? I doubt it.

    The test of respecting the copyright, however, isn't *never* violating one, but fixing it when you realize you have. SCO did exactly what it should have, here, and both parties are perfectly satisfied with the result, I should think. SCO's quick action shows that they are eager to demonstrate how much they respect copyrights of others.

    Does any of this mean SCO's suit is more or less merited? No, of course not. Does this infringement make them hypocrites? Not unless those filing the lawsuits sanctioned this infringment.

    Now, the one point that someone made which has some validity is that SCO is hypcritical to suggest that Linux's review process is tainted, when they themselves are unable to review sufficiently to avoid infringement. SCO has no business complaining about the review process of any software if they cannot guarantee their products are 100% clean (and no one can, of course). SCO has made that argument to make Linux sound out of control and "scary," but it is not really a legal argument, just a tactic.

    Like SCO's documentation, Linux is open for review at any time by anyone. Like SCO's documentation, if something infringing is in Linux, it is likely to be noticed by the copyright holder. SCO is saying that they have noticed such a thing, but unfortunately isn't able to point it out. That is what makes this documentation case so cut-and-dry, and the Linux one so out of control.

    Personally, I think SCO should put up or shut up...but the fact that they were caught infringing, and made amends doesn't do anything to the validity of their suit. From their point of view (assuming they actually believe there is infringement), they are just asking for the same treatment they offered here.

    -Dan
    • adipostity? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BigBadBri (595126)
      Is that cranial adiposity, perchance?

      The reason SCO acted so quickly wasn't because they respect other peoples copyrights, since they obviously didn't check before ripping this material off.

      It's simply that to do otherwise given their current legal shenanigans would have been foolish.

      There's no honour involved, just cold calculation of the lawyer variety.

  • by Amorpheus_MMS (653095) <amorpheus@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @06:39PM (#9145238)
    Webmin should have sued SCO without mentioning any details that would allow correcting the problem. :>
  • SCO says farewell (Score:4, Informative)

    by daniel23 (605413) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @07:54PM (#9146056)
    you may rember the story about sco.pl closing office posted here and elsewhere some days ago?
    I just went there and kinda appreciated their way to wave good bye. Apparently being fired gave some of the crew the freedom to finally say what they think about their ex-boss.

    Go look yourself:
    http://www.sco.pl/ [www.sco.pl]

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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