SCO hit by legal action in Germany

The German subsidiary of The SCO Group Inc. has temporarily shut down its Web site after a local Linux user group received a restraining court order against the U.S. software group, but plans to reactivate the site shortly.

“We deactivated our Web site on Friday while we continue to scan for any statements or references to Linux,” said Hans Bayer, managing director of SCO GmbH in Hamburg, Germany. “We decided to wait for the new corporate design that the parent company is preparing for all its Web sites worldwide before we reactivate ours.”

On May 23, lawyers for LinuxTag e.V., an association representing largely Linux program developers, told SCO’s German subsidiary to retract its claims regarding ownership of Linux kernel code by this Friday, May 30, or make its evidence public.

With its unsubstantiated claims, SCO is hurting competitors, intimidating Linux customers and inflicting damage on the reputation of Linux as an open platform, said LinuxTag spokesman Andreas Gebhard. “We told SCO flat out they must stop claiming that the standard Linux kernel violates its copyrights if they can’t prove it.”

The German subsidiary is consulting with its lawyers about its Web site and whether it should go to court with LinuxTag, Bayer said. “We’re considering what the next sensible step should be,” he said, adding that nowhere in Europe is the Linux community as well-organized and vocal than in Germany.