There is a report on GROKLAW that “Third, the motion said that Novell couldn’t argue anything contrary to the law (perhaps this meant contrary to the law of the case). Novell could not argue that the copyrights did not transfer based on the lack of a 204A writing. Novell said that they would argue based on the contract.“. I find it very strange that in a court of law, lawyers are not allowed to point out to the jury that the law is on their side. Let us hope the jury can read the contract or that SCOTUS slaps the courts in Utah/10th circuit.
Now the thing is in the hands of the jury on whether or not the copyrights for much of UNIX OS owned by Novell back in 1995 transferred to the Santa Cruz Operation. Here we are, seven years later, still discussing a deal that contains a clause with excluded assets containing copyrights. There is potential that the jury could award the copyrights to SCOG and they could use that to sue thousands of corporations and individuals for use of GNU/Linux. Are not the courts existing to see that this kind of thing does not happen??? Tens of millions of dollars and a large hit on the GDP of the world has been affected by this and it is baseless. GNU/Linux was written from scratch and uses open standards.
Holding that Novell cannot tell the jury about copyright law is too much. This is the last in a long line of rulings against Novell, making them fight with two hands tied behind their back. Reports claim the jurors snickered at some of SCOG’s witnesses. Let us hope that translates into the right decision next week. They are taking the weekend off. That may give them time for memories to fade or it may give them time for quiet reflection. We shall see the result. Whichever way the jury rules, SCOTUS should give the 10th circuit a kick to get back in line with copyright law. Holding that copyright can transfer without a writing is very dangerous and could open the floodgates of Hell to every con artist on the planet to rip stuff off, legally. Pretty soon, the 10th cirucuit will create case law saying that a jury could interpret dreams to decide who owns the copyright on any work. They need a spanking and soon.
Judge Stewart is obviously capable of great insight and has the legal knowledge. This case suggests strongly that he is not ruling based on law but on some hidden agenda to give every advantage possible to SCOG. Novell has taken the steps to document their motions very well should an appeal be necessary. I believe whichever way the case turns out, some peer review of Stewart’s conduct of this case is in order. Courts run this way are pointless. We can find bullies galore on the street. We do not need them in courts.