The Open Source Development Labs is settting up a legal defense fund to defend users of the open-source operating system against litigation threatened by the SCO Group,

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 13, 2004

2 Min Read

The Open Source Development Labs says it's establishing a legal defense fund to defend Linux users against litigation threatened by the SCO Group, which is vowing to bring a copyright-infringement lawsuit against a large Linux user.

IBM, Intel and other OSDL members have contributed more than $2 million to the fund, which has a goal of reaching $10 million.

"The fund is designated to help with the defense of end users of Linux in the event that they are sued by SCO for copyright violation relating to their use of Linux," the OSDL said Monday in a statement. "Any Linux customer sued by SCO for use of Linux can request assistance from the fund."

A SCO spokesman said the suit against an as-yet-unnamed Linux user "is close to forthcoming." In a court filing on Nov. 18, SCO said it planned to file the suit within 90 days.

The non-profit OSDL said the fund will also cover the legal expenses of Linus Torvalds, the creator of the open-source operating system. In addition, the OSDL will be able to use funds from the defense fund for its own legal work carried out in the litigation with SCO. Torvalds, who is employed at the Lab, directs the development of Linux. Torvalds has not been named as a target in the case by SCO.

The OSDL said the legal defense fund will not cover developers. There is separate legal defense fund for developers established by Red Hat Inc. to defend developers. The OSDL consortium said it will limit the defense fund's contributions to end users "sued by SCO where the case involves copyright or other intellectual property issues that affect the Linux industry."

SCO has sent out more than 1,500 warning letters to business users of its software, demanding that they pay fees to SCO for their use of the GNU Linux operating system.

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