NZOSS to establish legal fighting fund

The group representing New Zealand's Linux community says it doesn't intend taking an aggressive legal stance against SCO, the US software company making licence fee claims against Linux users.

The group representing New Zealand’s Linux community says it doesn’t intend taking an aggressive legal stance against SCO, the US software company making licence fee claims against Linux users.

The New Zealand Open Source Society says a meeting this week at which legal options for resisting the SCO claims were discussed has resulted in a plan to create a legal fighting fund.

Society spokesman Peter Harrison says rather than attempt a legal rebuttal of SCO’s allegation that Linux users are infringing its copyright, the NZOSS wants to “negotiate” with the company.

“We’re going to try working with SCO in New Zealand to establish what it’s owed based on the evidence,” Harrison says.

“We’re looking at putting in place an intellectual property regime that will protect Linux in perpetuity.”

Harrison says the society’s position remains that SCO has no legitimate claim for licence fees, but it is willing to talk to the company.

“What the open source community has said is if we’re told what we’re infringing, we’ll correct it.”

Harrison says donations to the legal fund will be sought from local Linux users and from money which Linux distributor Red Hat has made available for Linux litigation. The society has hired IP specialist lawyer Andrew Brown QC, who is being advised by Auckland law firm Clendon Feeney.

Harrison says about 10 NZOSS members attended Thursday’s Auckland meeting. The society council will be asked to endorse the legal defence plan meeting attendees formulated.

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