I’ve given up on predicting when the zombie movie series starring the undead SCO monster is finally going to stay quietly in its grave. Still, this week a jury is deciding whether SCO or Novell owns Unix’s intellectual property rights.

You may have thought that this was settled. Most of us who followed SCO certainly thought that the matter was a done deal. After all, deciding who owns Unix comes down to a fairly simple issue of contract law and not some esoteric IP (intellectual property) legal gymkhana. And no matter how SCO sliced it, Judge Dale Kimball decided that Novell owned Unix’s copyrights. Alas, another judge decided last August that Kimball had had no right to make that call and that a jury should decide who Unix’s copyrights instead.

So, here we are again: SCO vs. Novell, and the known Linux-using universe round 743.

I don’t think for a minute in a rational universe that SCO can win this case. But, it is in front of a jury and, after-all, a jury is made up of twelve-people who weren’t bright enough to get out of jury duty.

After all, common sense says that when a company buys a software line, it gets all the IP rights with it. Unfortunately, while SCO certainly wanted to buy Unix’s copyright back in the day, Novell choose never to sell Unix’s IP to SCO.

Sure, SCO was able to bring up some former Novell people, such as its worst all-time former CEO, Robert J. “Bob” Frankenberg, to try to support its claims. Unfortunately for SCO, Frankenberg wasn’t there when the final contract amendments were signed, so his testimony was, shall we say, not that strong.

If this were anything but a jury trial, I wouldn’t be worried. Novell owns Unix’s IP and all is right with the world. Alas, it is a jury trial, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they do decide that SCO owns Unix. If that’s the case we can look forward to another few years of the SCO zombie wandering the face of the Internet with its long dismissed claims of Linux containing some of SCO’s Unix code.

In the end, it will turn out alright. Novell will appeal the verdict, and a higher level court will award Novell Unix’s IP and smack SCO down. But, in the short run, I fear we may yet have to deal with SCO’s undead and annoying anti-Linux copyright claims.

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