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CSN Asks Judge To Unseal the SCO-IBM Court Record

If SCO's Case Proved, It Could Derail The Linux Market and Take The Open Source Movement Down With It

Client Server News and LinuxGram, its sister publication, have asked the Utah district court hearing the SCO Group's $5 billion suit against IBM and IBM's subsequent counterclaims to open all the filings that have been sealed.

SCO's suit claims IBM improperly incorporated aspects of SCO's Unix operating system in Linux. If proved, it could derail the Linux market and take the open source movement down with it.

Our motion to intervene cites the fact that Linux is an inflection point for the industry and that any question of its future is a matter of intense public interest.

However, the public has lost any real insight into the case because of a so-called stipulated protective order that SCO and IBM signed in September of 2003 that has let either of them unilaterally designate discovery material as "confidential."

As a result, a large part of the case has been sealed, especially the substantive and material parts.

IBM is believed to have been particularly free with the seal.

Our motion to intervene contends that the protective order, usually reserved for trade secrets whose disclosure could be competitively damaging, may have been abused and that the material that has been put under seal has never been shown to be really confidential.

It argues that merely protecting potentially embarrassing information that the parties "do not want the public to see" violates the public's common law right of access to judicial records and its First Amendment right to oversee the judicial system.

The nine-page motion, filed today, asks that the protective order be modified to keep the record open going forward or that the parties be required to demonstrate a genuine need to seal each document.

It also asks the court to open any correspondence that SCO and IBM have had with the court that is not reflected in the clerk's file and to open all transcripts of court hearings that have been sealed.

Our lawyers, Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough, a Salt Lake City firm experienced in First Amendment matters, is prepared to argue our case in court.

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    Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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