06 January 2006

CommentWire court in the act

Since Computer Business Review/CommentWire are unlikely to publish this comment themselves:

Your most recent story about SCOX’s court antics (D74040F3-9621-4295-82F5-FC6D8D9F7CDD) is highly irresponsible reporting. We have not seen any evidence at all out of SCOX yet, ever; the few shards they did file are all under seal. Their “millions of lines” has been reduced (not increased) to a few hundred, you can bet your last penny that big slabs of that will just be rejected out of hand by the Court for various reasons, they’ve dropped all patent claims, and the single remaining copyright claim rests on very rickety legal theory.

On top of all of this, they still have counterclaims to answer in at least three court cases, all of which have excellent chances of being awarded show-stopper amounts of compensation.

Far from being in a “better” position, as the whole tone of the report implies, SCOX’s response was pathetic; they are closer to death’s door than ever before.

So I don’t have a big, impressive PR firm? I do what I can with what I have, and a big hurrah to the various Internet firms which make it possible for anyone with connectivity to do likewise.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leon,

Many thanks for your comment on CBR's story. If you had wanted it published on CBRonline all you had to do was click on the "Your Opinion" link and leave a comment there. Nevertheless I have to respond to claims of irresponsible reporting.

Granted the story in question did not mention the previous claims related to "millions of lines of code", but it was written in the context of a series of reports that have run over the last couple of years following the case (in particular a follow up to this story http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=65EE61AA-182A-4CF9-B092-25C098BE261D).

As you know this has been a complex and changing case and it is not always possible to cover every aspect of the case in an individual story. Among the numerous linked related stories you would have found http://www.cbronline.com/article_feature.asp?guid=C1A0950F-72B8-42E1-A091-BA623556F8B0 and http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=8147A28E-4F46-4EC7-9F78-9187566B76F4 both of which covered the reduction in claims SCO has made against IBM at the time.

I think it was clear that the mention of an increase in claimed evidence related to the number of disclosures identified at the final deadline, compared to the interim deadline. In addition it was noted that the claims had been filed under court seal, that SCO had backed away from previous trade secret misappropriation claims, and that Novell had challenged SCO's claim to the Unix copyrights.

As an independent news organisation it is not for us to comment on whether SCO is likely to win its case, or is "closer to death's door" as you put it - there are plenty of other websites out there providing comment on the case. Our role is to report what has happened, and in reporting that SCO had met the final deadline with 293 claims, an increase on the 217 it claimed to have identified at the interim deadline, I believe we did that.

Regards
Matthew

Matthew Aslett
Deputy Editor
Computer Business Review

Leon Brooks said...

Thanks for your response, which is also more detailed than is typical for any response, forced or not, from an online magazine.

Sadly, it is atypical of an online mag to print any reader opinion other than possibly one or two items cherry-picked from the responses for their manageability and edited to remove the difficult bits, so first I applaud you for going to the trouble of chasing down a blog post and replying to it here.

Unfortunately, both the headline and the tone of the entire article give a distinct and difficult-to-misinterpret impression that SCOX has somehow advanced their overall position with this filing, footnotes and linked articles notwithstanding. However, zero times anything is still zero, and the assertion that CBR has followed this case from the beginning actually undermines your position.

SCOX have, as far as I can determine, never deliberately made public anything which could legitimately be regarded as evidence for their case. In every single case where the actual content of some of their “evidence” has escaped its cage, it has turned out to be a zephyr, a chasing after the wind. The whole character of their paperwork is like this, and has been from Day One. You hint at this here with the description “a complex and changing case” but not a breath of that taints the report I commented on.

You don’t need to add more than a sentence of disclaimer to the report to bring it back within the bounds of what I would call “responsible”, something along the lines of SCOX having still not exposed the faintest shred of real evidence to public review after more than two years of accusations.

And why not? They’ve got nearly three hundred accusations to choose from; surely all of these can’t be trade secrets or the like? Why not — if they’re not terrified of ridicule — inspire public confidence by publishing a select cross-section — say, five percent of them? Or even the title lines describing each piece of “evidence”? If they really do have a case, if they’re not running a scam and sucking countless journos in after them, where’s the risk? If you’re going to publish a summary of their claims, does not responsibility (especially in light of CBR “tracking” the case) require calling them on glaring inconsistencies like that?

Thank you again for your response, and the opportunity for dialogue, and if you like I’ll moderate the flippant post title to something less incendiary (by reposting with a better title, emptying this post and turning it into a link to the improvement), and I’m open to suggestions.