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Novell gets jury backing in Linux copyright fight with SCO

Simon Quicke

Novell has managed to gain the upper hand in a legal battle over Unix copyrights against SCO clearing the way for greater promotion of Linux.

SCO had been contesting the copyright of certain aspects of the Unix operating system for seven years but yesterday a federal jury in Utah found that Novell owned two key copyrights and not its rival.

The case started when SCO argued that Novell had sold it the copyrights along with the Unix system for $149m and as a result a legal claim was filed to stop its rival from using the copyrights as well as a demand for damages.

But with the Utah jury decision it has made the prospect of the copyright issue being finally closed looks much closer than any time since the case kicked off in 2004.

"This decision is good news for Novell, for Linux, and for the open source community. We have long contended that this effort against Linux has no foundation, and we are pleased that the jury, in a unanimous decision, agrees," said Ron Hovsepian, Novell president and CEO.

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