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MS Word File Reveals Changes to SCO's Plans 851

jfruhlinger writes "Ah, the joys of 'track changes' in MS Word: metadata in a document obtained by Cnet reveals some earlier plans by SCO's legal team. Among them: to sue in February (their original target date), to sue Bank of America, to 'impound ... all Linux software products in the custody or control of Defendant through the pendency of these proceedings', and to accuse in court 'Linus Torvalds and/or others' of 'inclusion into one or more distributions of Linux with the copyright management information intentionally removed.' Good stuff." Also, SCO has announced a few new licensees including Computer Associates.
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MS Word File Reveals Changes to SCO's Plans

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  • lawyers (Score:5, Funny)

    by panxerox ( 575545 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:04PM (#8468134)
    If all Sco's operating officers are put in jail whos going to write all the checks for the lawsuits? Also at what point does the Bar association of Utah step in and say if you sco lawyers do this anymore kiss your licenses goodby?
    • SCO's strategy... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:50PM (#8469663)
      I think they are hoping to tie up the courts to the point where they are too busy to throw the book at the SCO executives while at the same time counting on their legal carpet-bombing strategy nets them some settlement profits.

      They have a few more tricks up their sleeve...from another news(.com)^2 article []:

      Linux, which runs well on inexpensive Intel processor-based servers, has become increasingly popular despite SCO's actions. Linux has even spread to the Web site of the U.S. District Court in Nevada, where SCO filed its suit against AutoZone, according to site monitoring firm NetCraft.

      Soooo...if the courts threaten to dismiss SCOs case and/or charge them with fraud, they can just sue the court system itself!
    • Re:lawyers (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @07:27PM (#8470057)
      CA Says It Didn't Pay SCO No Stinking Linux Tax...details at []
  • EV1 (Score:5, Funny)

    by daperdan ( 446613 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:05PM (#8468156)
    I'm sure that EV1 is very happy now about their investment and partnership with SCO. Maybe next time they'll partner with a more popular group like the KKK.
    • Re:EV1 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Megaslow ( 694447 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:08PM (#8468224) Homepage
      I dont think the KKK [] wants anything to do with them!
    • Re:EV1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:29PM (#8468574) Homepage Journal
      I feel EV1 is getting to much heat. I mean if a thug leans on some little guy and extorts money from him do you blame the little fellow or the thug?
      No CA paying is another matter. They are not some litte ISP.
    • Re:EV1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:29PM (#8469435) Homepage

      The EV1 deal is interesting.

      SCO is claiming the deal with EV1 was worth more than a million dollars []. EV1 is disputing the 7 figures [] and the confusion seems to be the weasel word "worth" [].

      In other words, SCO is claiming that $1million+ "worth" of licenses were sold. So that's $1mill/$699 = 1400+ licenses, or $1mill/$1399 = 700+ licenses. SCO's own quarterly says only $20k [] income from licensing this quarter. It's possible the EV1 payments are in stages, or won't appear on SCO's financials until next quarter, but it's also possible that EV1 only paid $20k for their licenses.

      But SCO is spinning this to sound much more impressive. EV1 was the patsy here; they thought they were getting a great deal, but they were just another pawn in SCO's (Microsoft's?) smear campaign against Linux.

  • SCO lawyers (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sassan Sanei ( 714729 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:05PM (#8468167)
    Here in Canada, it's so cold outside that I swear I saw a SCO lawyer with his hand in his own pocket. Sassan
  • by Stone316 ( 629009 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:06PM (#8468172) Journal
    Now I have to cut and paste!! Oh the humanity.. (yeah, i'm lazy....)
  • by andy666 ( 666062 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:06PM (#8468193)
    Ironically, UC Berkeley is also going to be a licensee!!
  • A what now? (Score:5, Funny)

    by NicolaiBSD ( 460297 ) <spam@van d e> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:06PM (#8468197) Homepage
    Also, SCO has A HREF

    What's a href and why are you yelling?
  • by kwandar ( 733439 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:06PM (#8468198)

    If there was a question as to whether this is just an SCO fishing expedition, I think the question has now been answered

    I'm surprised SCRO don't just take the list of Fortune 100 companys they sent the notificiation to, and using mailmerge.

  • MS Word (Score:5, Funny)

    by sport_160 ( 650020 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:07PM (#8468209) Homepage
    Not often you see 'joy' and 'MS Word' in the same sentence.
  • by frenetic3 ( 166950 ) * <houston@al u m . m i> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:07PM (#8468213) Homepage Journal
    FYI... here's a free app that removes MS Word metadata (useful for sensitive docs for distribution)

  • by TrollBridge ( 550878 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:07PM (#8468216) Homepage Journal
    "Also, SCO has A HREF=" cascolicensee_1.html">announced a few new licensees including Computer Associates."

    Are they even trying anymore?

  • Using MS Word (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davidmcn ( 606752 ) <> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:07PM (#8468222) Homepage
    With SCO being all about their Unix IP, you would think they would prefer to use their own product when writing legal proceedings, instead they use Microsofts....
    • by DreadSpoon ( 653424 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:17PM (#8468398) Journal
      SCO has a product?
    • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:20PM (#8468451) Homepage Journal
      Well, if someone was paying you 86 million dollars... you'd use their software too!

      As a side note, having been forced to work with SCO's operating system, it actually makes windows look like a viable choice...

    • Re:Using MS Word (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zurab ( 188064 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:24PM (#8468507)
      With SCO being all about their Unix IP, you would think they would prefer to use their own product when writing legal proceedings, instead they use Microsofts....

      I thought that was the plan the whole time. The BofA thing was "accidental." Also, look at these quotes from the article:

      In an interview on Wednesday, SCO's CFO confirmed that the three companies were licensees, and claimed that his company had now signed up somewhere between 10 and 50 IP License for Linux customers. ...
      "Our usage of (Linux) is so small and isolated that's why we went ahead and signed the contract.," said Chad Jones a spokesman with the Salt Lake City company. "This was small enough that we made a business decision based on the modest cost of SCO's claim that it was in our interest to settle rather than litigate this thing," he said.

      Add to that CA, EV1, and that SCO doesn't have to produce any proof of anything in the near future, looks like Microsoft's grand plan against Linux is heating up. SCO doesn't have to prove anything to anybody, it just has to make enough "sense" for these businesses to sign up.

      Non-Unix licensee major Linux contributors (i.e. not IBM or HP) need to sue SCO for copyright violations sooner rather than later.
  • by grendel_x86 ( 659437 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:09PM (#8468245) Homepage
    Thats funny, SCO screwed by their biggest contrib.

    I know this feature of word has let me find out some interesting things before. You would not believe some of the things people write in their resumes.
  • Warning Letters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crass751 ( 682736 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:09PM (#8468256) Homepage
    I'd be interested to know how many companies got the warning letter from SCO and tossed it in the circular file instead of replying to it.

    If I'm not mistaken, SCO filed suit against DC because they never received a response to their letter. I wonder how many more they'll file based on lack of replies.
    • Re:Warning Letters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jaywalk ( 94910 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:33PM (#8468627) Homepage
      If I'm not mistaken, SCO filed suit against DC because they never received a response to their letter.
      It wasn't the warning letter that they're getting sued for. SCO wrote another letter to people who are using both SCO UNIX and Linux requiring them to certify that they're not using any Linux that impinges on SCO's IP. The letter was worded like the old joke, "Do you still beat your wife?" There was no way to answer the question without incriminating yourself. Half the people who got the letter never answered it.

      Note the targets of SCO's lawsuits so far and the reason why they're being sued:

      • IBM because they bought a UNIX license from SCO.
      • Daimler Chrysler because they use both Linux and SCO UNIX.
      • Autozone because they used to use SCO UNIX and changed to Linux.
      • Novell because they have a contract with SCO to collect UNIX licensing fees.
      Note that in every case the problem has never been that the target used Linux. It's always because they did business with SCO. In no case has SCO tried to prove in court that they have IP in Linux; they reserve those claims for their press releases. The court cases are all about contractual disputes with SCO customers and former customers.

      I've said it before and I'll say it again. The lesson is clear; it's dangerous to even talk to these nut jobs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:10PM (#8468267)
    This is scandalous. There's no official confirmation yet, but apparently CmdrTaco of fame leaked the source code to the story. The file contained a href and then something.

    Will this be the end of Slashdot?
  • by mliu ( 85608 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:10PM (#8468269) Homepage
    Anyone able to find a link to the word file? I'd like to see this for myself in its entirety. I did a quick search on Google and didn't turn it up.
  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:11PM (#8468287)
    From infoworld article:
    "What were they thinking?" said Bruce Perens, one of the founders of the Open Source Initiative. "I think this sends a very strange message and I'd like to hear a real explanation out of CA."
    And I'd love to hear the real reasons from everyone else aswell! Are they setting up for a counter-suit, dumb or in SCO/MS pockets?
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:12PM (#8468309) Homepage Journal
    So, this to me seems like another example of security breaches that can get companies, organizations and governments into trouble because of their use of Microsoft products.

    So, last time I heard, certain agencies are prohibiting the use of .doc formats for certain information transactions and instead relying on standard ascii text encoded files.

    • by nvrrobx ( 71970 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:46PM (#8468818) Homepage
      Okay I have to bite on this one. Word has the ability to track changes to a document. Exactly how is this a Microsoft security breach?!

      In my copy of Microsoft Word 2002, this is turned off by default and you have to turn it on.

      Hrm.. Let's see here. Eclipse, the IDE, keeps an internal history repository of my source code. Damn security breach!

      Stop karma whoring by bashing Microsoft with stupid crap. If you're going to bash them for security holes, pick a real exploit.
      • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:01PM (#8469074) Homepage Journal
        Stop karma whoring by bashing Microsoft with stupid crap. If you're going to bash them for security holes, pick a real exploit.

        Hey, I use some Microsoft products (Office for OS X is actually pretty nice in many respects) and I am not bashing them where they do not deserve some feedback. But please tell us why this is not a security exploit? The user who created this document obviously did not intend for that information to get out! Therefore, just like any security issue, there is a component of end user responsibility. However, if I were dealing with sensitive information and was concerned about its inadvertent disclosure, I would not use .doc and I would not let my employees who had access to that information to use .doc for the dissemination of information.

        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:43PM (#8469594)
          Where Microsoft is at fault is not in implementing this feature, because it does have its uses. Their fault is in promoting the .doc file format as a "standard" suitable for publication and dissemination, because they want people to become dependent on their proprietary file formats.

          A better model is one in which editable documents are stored in one format, which contains metadata for tracking changes, etc. Then, when someone wishes to publish this document, they export it to a different format (like PDF), which is then sent out.

          The first format can be proprietary or not, but either way is kept within the organization and private. The second format only has the final version and the data that the publisher wants to release, and is in an open format that anyone can read without having to purchase special software. An intelligent organization wishing to preserve their confidential data would adopt this model.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:12PM (#8468315)
    "Next week we'll be covering one of the more amusing cases in IP. Make sure to read the case study on SCO before coming to class. It's Chapter 11, which isn't altogether lacking in irony."
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:13PM (#8468330)
    Remember, these are the companies that shareholders should sue for frivolously spending company monies with no legal foundation. And the top executives should get the boot.

    Shareholders have already unseated Eisner and Lord Black because of stupidity/criminal self-dealing. Here's three more to add to the list.

  • by Goody ( 23843 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:14PM (#8468351) Journal
    Is bloated, closed source, evil empire produced Word a good or bad thing ?

  • Oh snap. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr. Darl McBride ( 704524 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:16PM (#8468380)
    This is the last time I let Bill pay his license fees in Office CDs.


  • by Vexler ( 127353 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:16PM (#8468384) Journal
    IANAL. But suppose a case is brought to court that includes, as part of its collection of evidence, a Word document that tracks changes in much the same way that the Word document in the article apparently did. Could a prosecutor who, for example, sees among the "invisible ink" Neo-Nazi writings by the accused, be able to use that as evidence against him? Could he furthermore deduce "motive" and "intent" from that evidence? On one hand, he is able to glean the evidence simply because something *WAS* there. But that's just the problem: It was in the past, but it has been editted out and substituted by the weekly grocery list of the accused. Would he then be able to point to the "change log", so to speak, and build his case on that?
  • by Random BedHead Ed ( 602081 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:16PM (#8468387) Homepage Journal
    Their earnings are down. They sued two of their own customers. Laura Dido is no longer brainwashed by them. They have been revealed to be sock puppets of Redmond. And they use Word, which revealed their alternate evil plans. This is by far the funniest SCO week ever.
  • Bank of America?!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:17PM (#8468397)
    I would have loved to have seen them try to impound all that equipment. BOA would have destroyed them outright.

    Anyone know who SCO banks with?
  • idiots! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nxs212 ( 303580 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:18PM (#8468417)
    This is getting beyond utter stupidity! The only thing Bank of America would have to do is remove any offending code or recompile their apps without using offending libraries. It's not that hard.
    So far we haven't seen a single line of proprietary code from SCO - anything and everything they have shown us was and still is available in public domain. Just because they copied it from public domain and put it in their shitty product doesn't make it their invention.
    As far as BoA is concerned, I think Darl remembered he had an account with them where he stashed his millions. Talk about sticky situation:
    Darl: All your Linux are belong to us!
    BoA: OK, *click*, all your assets have been frozen until further notice...

  • and yet somehow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:20PM (#8468461) Journal
    somehow this happened.
    * SCO Group Inc (The) SCOX 11.66 +0.07 (0.60%)

    How? What idiot would buy stock now? Microsoft, in a last ditch attempt to give them a shread of crediability? People willing to take a million to one odds that they win any of these lawsuits?
  • SCO on crack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morcheeba ( 260908 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:24PM (#8468505) Journal
    In seeking relief from the courts, the original version of the document also said that it sought: "impounding all Linux software products in the custody or control of Defendant through the pendency of these proceedings;"

    What kind of drug were they on when they thought that a court would allow them to impound all "linux software products" (impounding the hardware would be easier) before the trial had been decided? Proving irreperable harm to SCO would be very hard, and taking all of these computers from BofA would cause incredible harm. No judge would allow such a thing.

    Which makes me wonder... who even suggested this - SCO management or their lawyers? Is the management that clueless/reckless?
  • by JohnnyCannuk ( 19863 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:36PM (#8468673)
    ..Down on the farm, we call that karma.

  • WTF is going on? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:41PM (#8468742) Journal
    I cannot believe companies are caving in to SCO and paying these bogus licensing fees. Can you believe Questar's logic?

    "Our usage of (Linux) is so small and isolated that's why we went ahead and signed the contract.,"

    The more companies that pay the more Linux looks like a tainted OS that is no longer Free.

    I knew the whole IBM v SCO thing wasn't going to be a quick and dirty affair. I knew SCO would be getting help from Microsoft to fund its legal offensive. I never thought companies would be dumb enough to pay for IP which is contested. For the love of God why are they paying? Say Fuck You to SCO and let them sue you if they want money. No judge will pass judgment against you or even let the case go forward until SCO can prove via the IBM case their IP claims. Who are the lawyers for these companies that are saying its better to pay? Fire their asses and hire someone with a clue.
  • by barfy ( 256323 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @05:58PM (#8469037)

    I think there are a couple of interesting items.

    The first question, is would the deleted material allowed in court? Since it was a draft of a legal plan, it would seem pretty clear that the content should ordinarally be protected by attorney-client privelidge? Especially if accidentally passed.

    The next question, is, now that it has been exposed, are there actions that can be taken against, SCO or thier lawform for either releasing confidential information, or the actual content of the confidential information?

    I can already hear lawyers screaming around the world, and this has to be good for Adobe...

    Lawyers should not be providing editable documents like word files. Final format documents like PDF, or signed PDF would seem to be a lot better thing to be passing around legal documents.
  • by IceAgeComing ( 636874 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:19PM (#8469317)
    I've been a linux user for years, and I had no idea that Autozone, Daimler-Chrysler, and BofA all used linux on a widespread basis.

    I'll just bet PHB's are thinking more about Linux, thanks to all the SCO press.

    I love irony.

  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:24PM (#8469391) Homepage Journal

    "Blake Stowell, SCO's director of communications, acknowledged that the leaked memo is real." -- eweek []

  • thugs (Score:5, Funny)

    by drxyzzy ( 149370 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @07:35PM (#8470122) Homepage
    Man in suit: Hey kid, nice software you have there. What's it called?

    Kid: Um, Linux, why?

    Man: Because I'm from SCO/Microsoft and I think it looks like my
    software now.

    Kid: No way, in fact I wrote some of it myself

    Man [pushing attorneys in front of him]: Moose! Lefty! Help the kid
    find his wallet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:47PM (#8470844)

    The word within CA is that the SCO claim is a lie. The following article is doing the rounds internally - it claims to have been published but I can't find it on the web, if I did I would provide a link instead...

    CA Says It Didn't Pay SCO No Stinking Linux Tax

    The Linux faithful have been hammering Computer Associates as a heretic since the British publication Computer Weekly quoting the SCO Group's CFO Bob Bench identified CA Thursday as one of SCO's rare Linux licensees.

    CA senior VP of product development Mark Barrenechea says that Bench's claim is nonsense. CA has not paid SCO any Linux taxes, he said.

    Drawing up short of calling SCO a liar, Barrenechea claims that SCO has twisted a $40 million breach-of-contract settlement that CA paid last summer to the Canopy Group, SCO's biggest stockholder, and Center 7, another Canopy company, and has turned it into a purported Linux license.

    As a 'small part' of that settlement, Barrenechea said, CA got a bunch of UnixWare licenses that it needed to support its UnixWare customers. SCO, he said, had just attached a transparent Linux indemnification to all UnixWare licenses and that is how SCO comes off calling CA a Linux licensee.

    But when CA agreed to that settlement, Barrenechea said, 'It was not CA's intention to become a Linux licensee. It has nothing to do with CA's product direction or strategic direction,' he said.

    CA has absolutely no sympathy for what SCO is doing, Barrenechea said, and in fact, he said, reading from a formal statement, it stands in 'stark disagreement with SCO's tactics and threats.'

    Barrenechea and CA's Linux chief Sam Greenblatt are worried that CA will be tarred with the SCO brush and that CA's considerable Linux ambitions will be damaged by a disaffected, if not hostile, open source community when in reality CA has 'nothing to do with SCO's strategy and tactics,' they said.

    CA was the mystery company SCO was thinking of when it announced last August that an unidentified Fortune 500 company had supposedly become a Linux license. SCO privately described the deal as 'significant.'

    CA couldn't disassociate itself from the rumors that identified it as that licensee because of an NDA that the Canopy side had insisted on hedging in the $40 million settlement with, Barrenechea and Greenblatt said.

    Barrenechea said that SCO now regards that NDA as being off because of the legal discovery that's been going on in SCO's $5 billion suit against IBM.

    See, SCO lawyer Mark Heisse in a letter dated February 4 to IBM lawyer David Marriott at Cravath Swain identified CA, Questar and Leggett & Platt as Linux taxpayers.

    According to that letter, which is up on the Groklaw site, Heisse owed IBM a copy of the CA agreement on CD.

    Barrenechea said that SCO was dropping CA's name to associate itself with the 'third-largest software company in the world' and build support for its 'lost cause.'

    But according to Barrenechea, not only are SCO's IP ambitions doomed, but its Unix interests are a 'trailing negative' on the road to dropping from 10% of the market to 3%-5% in a few years and then 'SCO will be irrelevant,' he said.

    By the way, CA doesn't have enough UnixWare licenses to cover all its Linux servers, Greenblatt said.

    In answer to CA's contentions, SCO said its lawyers think that CA has a Linux license.

    Meanwhile, Bench also told Computer Weekly, whose story was picked up by sister paper InfoWorld and maybe other properties in the IDG stable, that SCO had signed between 10 and 50 Linux licenses.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.