"I have the mandate of my colleagues in my office to solicit for your assistance for a business/deal we want to execute with you

Saturday, July 19 2003 @ 11:59 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

I've been trying to figure if SCO's licensing program announcement is more like a mutant meatspace spam, or a Mafia offer of "protection" for a fee, or just a schoolyard bully demanding your lunch money.

Spammers don't care if 99% of the recipients of their offer say no, as long as 1% buy whatever they are offering. The Nigerian spam, and all the other advanced fee copycats, have been around for 10 years, after all, so somebody is buying. When SCO announced their UNIX licensing program, the crowds stayed away, but they still made millions from MS and Sun. Only two, but it was still money in the bank.

I started thinking along these lines when I read the article in Infoworld about SCO readying its new licensing program:

"While the majority of Linux customers probably would not participate in a SCO licensing program, Haff predicted some companies might be willing to pay SCO for the security of knowing they would not be sued. SCO is 'hoping that even if 99 percent of Linux customers laugh in their face, that there will be sufficient large companies who, for what is presumably going to be a relative drop in the bucket of their IT budgets, can potentially eliminate a cloud over their heads,' he said."

I started thinking about the mob because of the quotation from SCO's Stowell:

"Stowell declined to provide specific details of SCO's new licensing program, saying only, 'we're working on some details to try and create some kind of a licensing program for Linux users to be able to run Linux legally.'"

He says they will be announcing the new program "within the next month or so." As I recall, they have been announcing this since December. In fact, it was supposed to be July 9. And now they are still working out the details? Excuse my curled lip. How long does it take?

So what is it really? I think the key word in their announcement is "copyright". They are probably going to announce that they have registered the copyright they say they got from Novell. I went to the Copyright Office to check, but their server is having problems. This could mean a shift in their legal strategy against IBM, maybe some "enforcement" plans against AIX users, and maybe some against "Linux customers" who don't take advantage of this wonderful "opportunity".

It also reminds me of something SCO said at the very beginning of this soap opera, that SCO planned on following the tactics of the RIAA: "Similar to analogous efforts underway in the music industry, we are prepared to take all actions necessary to stop the ongoing violation of our intellectual property or other rights."

Of course, as we've seen, the RIAA is making money hand over fist from their enforcement tactics...NOT. Suing your customers does not a business plan make. Sadly, copyright is powerful for harrassment purposes, because of its quick takedown capacity, without the need to go to court first. Hopefully, Linus et al are busy bees. Because I am expecting a copyright announcement along with threats of enforcement, along with an "opportunity" to buy immunity from ...well, from SCO, silly.

More SCO Insider Trades



Checking on SEC, I note that just before Monday's telephone conference, Michael Sean Wilson, Sr. VP Corp. Dev., exercised some stock options and then sold them all. He got 12,000 at 66 cents and he sold them all for $10 plus some cents. Also Michael P. Olson, VP Finance, sold 8,000 shares. Wonder what these financial wizards think of the licensing plan's future. According to Yahoo Wilson made just under $70,000 and Olson about $86,000. They should have waited until Friday, when the stock closed at $11.95.

You can see for yourself here and here and here. Complete list here.

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