The tussle between SCO and Novell has largely played itself out in the shadows of the higher-profile war between the litigation-frenzied Utah-based company and Big Blue. SCO claims that it acquired the copyrights to Unix when Santa Cruz Operations purchased UnixWare back in 1995, which Novell disputes. Novell's latest filing turns up the heat on SCO on multiple fronts. Novell claims that the 1995 agreement gave it the right to receive royalty payments for any new Unix licenses sold by SCO. This encompasses the now-infamous SCOSource license along with SCO's deals with Microsoft and Sun. As a result, Novell is asking the judge for a preliminary injunction against SCO that would put all but 5 percent of SCO revenues in escrow immediately
, as SCO is quickly burning through its cash on hand. If the request were to be granted, it would put SCO in a severe financial bind, making further operations difficult. Novell is [also] claiming that the language of the original deal gives it veto power over enforcement actions SCO might take regarding Unix licenses.
If that turns out to be the case, Novell would put an end to the IBM lawsuit. Perhaps most interesting of all is the allegation that in late 2002, SCO CEO Darl McBride contacted Novell in an attempt to amend the language of the 1995 transaction agreement to give SCO unfettered control over Unix copyrights. The implication is huge: SCO knew even before launching its first lawsuit that there were serious questions as to whether it really owned the copyrights to Unix.
That assertion is the basis for all of SCO's legal actions.