March 4, 2004 12:25 PM PST

Hidden text shows SCO prepped lawsuit against BofA

The SCO Group filed lawsuits this week against DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone, but the Unix seller's attorneys also had prepared a complaint against Bank of America, according to a document.

A Microsoft Word document of SCO's suit against DaimlerChrysler, seen by CNET News.com, originally identified Bank of America as the defendant instead of the automaker. This revision and others in the document can be seen through powerful but often forgotten features in Microsoft Word known as invisible electronic ink.

News.context

What's new:
A Word document in SCO's lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler originally identified Bank of America as the defendant.

Bottom line:
Hidden text indicates that SCO spent considerable time building a case against the bank. As some have learned the hard way, Word can also display the original version of a document and all subsequent changes.

For more info:
Track the players

A feature in the word-processing software tracks changes to documents, who made those changes, and when they were made. These notations typically are invisible to someone reading a Word document. But as some lawyers, businesspeople and politicians have learned the hard way, Word can also display so-called metadata in the document--including the original version and all subsequent changes. This information is available by viewing the document under "original showing markup" or "final showing markup."

The presence of hidden text in the SCO document is just the latest example of this workplace issue. According to a study by market research firm Vanson Bourne titled "The Cost of Sharing," 90 percent of documents in circulation began as something else, but 57 percent of respondents were not aware that metadata may still exist in the their document. Microsoft addresses the issue on its Web site but adds that its 2003 version of Office provides a feature that lets users "permanently remove" the hidden text from Word.

In the case of SCO's lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler, the Word document identified Bank of America as a defendant until Feb. 18--at 11:10 a.m., to be exact. The location for filing the suit also was switched from Bank of America's principal operations in California to Michigan, DaimlerChrysler's home state, on Feb. 27.

According to the document, it is unclear whether SCO was serious about suing the bank, whether it still intends to, or why the bank was dropped and replaced with DaimlerChrysler.

But the hidden text indicates that SCO spent considerable time building a case against the bank and that it also considered extending allegations filed against IBM to Big Blue's high-profile customers--in this case, Bank of America.

Representatives of Bank of America and SCO, including SCO's attorneys, declined to comment on the document.


Get Up to Speed on...
Open source
Get the latest headlines and
company-specific news in our
expanded GUTS section.


SCO has stirred up a hornet's nest of opposition within the open-source community by contending that Linux contains proprietary source code owned by the company. Hackers have rendered SCO's Web site inaccessible for long periods. Picking apart the company's case and examining its motivations also has become a cottage industry on numerous Web blogs and Linux-related Web sites.

Corporate America has taken note as well, thanks largely to a warning letter that SCO sent last May to 1,500 of the world's largest companies, threatening that they could be legally liable for using Linux if they failed to obtain a license from the Utah-based company. SCO has also sued IBM, seeking damages of $5 billion.

What the invisible ink reveals
Examples of the changes made to the Word document that later became SCO's lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler include the following:

• On Feb. 18 at 11:10 a.m. "Bank of America, a National Banking Association" was removed as a defendant and "DaimlerChrysler Corp." was inserted.

• Three minutes later, this comment was removed: "Are there any special jurisdiction or venue requirements for a NA bank?"

• At the end of the lawsuit, "February" was listed as the filing date, although no exact date was given. SCO previously had said that it expected to file a lawsuit against a Linux user by mid-February.

The document contains other alterations in the margins. For example, on Feb. 13 at 2:27 p.m. a question was inserted asking: "Did BA receive one of the SCO letters sent to Fortune 1500?". That apparently was a reference to the warning letters sent earlier by SCO.

In its final form, SCO's suit against DaimlerChrysler was filed in Michigan's Oakland County Circuit Court and alleges violations of the automaker's Unix software agreement with SCO. In the original version that listed Bank of America as a defendant, the focus was copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which would be the domain of the federal courts.

SCO also cited alleged copyright infringement in the suit it filed in federal court Tuesday against AutoZone, but it did not include violations of the DMCA.

In the original version identifying Bank of America as a defendant, the document also included these allegations against the bank and Linux developers, including leading Linux figure Linus Torvalds:

•  "Defendant acquired a license from IBM to use UNIX/AIX on or about December __, 2003 the ("BA UNIX/AIX License"). At the time of acquiring the BA UNIX/AIX License, Defendant knew or should have known: (a) that IBM?s license to distribute UNIX/AIX had been terminated by SCO pursuant to the UNIX/AIX Termination Notice and (b) that IBM?s distribution to it of UNIX/AIX software improperly included use of the UNIX Release 3.2 Copyrighted Materials"

• "(C)ertain of plaintiff's copyrighted software code has been materially or exactly copied by Linus Torvalds and/or others for inclusion into one or more distributions of Linux with the copyright management information intentionally removed."

In seeking relief from the courts, the original version of the document also said that it sought: "impounding all Linux software products in the custody or control of Defendant through the pendency of these proceedings;" and "statutory damages under the Third Cause of Action in a sum not less than $2,500 and not more than $25,000 for each and every copy and/or distribution of Linux made by Defendant."

This request was not made in the AutoZone or DaimlerChrysler suits.

11 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
I drive DaimlerChrysler, Is SCO going to sue me? :)
I see SCO suing DaimlerChrysler as they got product from X and use. I got car which was built/has link to linux. Will SCO sue me :)?

I guess every one on the earth need to buy "SCO IP licence", the one which they are not sure if they have? :)).
Posted by hi_rao (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cover -all- the news on this subject, please
Why don't you guys, if you haven't already, do some reporting on Microsoft's financing of SCO to the tune of $86 million- Look here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween10.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween10.html</a>

The credibility of the documents on Eric Raymond's site have all stood the test of time; this one should prove no different.

You've got to admit it is at least as credible as reporting on a MS Word document's metadata that you "found". Of course, it may cause a few problems with one of your sponsors, ...ahem.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
SCO had relationship with large AutoZone competitor.
A few years ago I worked with CSK Auto, better known as "Checker" (in Arizona and many other places), "Schucks" (in places I'd rather not be), or "Kragen" (in California). They are AutoZone's primary competitor - a direct competitor entering into very nearly the exact same marketplace in the exact same ways, providing the exact same services (not much, save a few free tests and computerized parts lookup).

CSK was using dumbterms and some hideous implentation of SCO Unix as recently as 2001. It was riddled with security holes, all of which I disclosed to management during my stay with the company. I'm not sure if CSK is presently financially involved with SCO or not, there were mentions of CSK migrating to a totally Windows-based "solution" (snicker...) around the time I left that company.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
CSK Auto
direct competitor entering into very nearly the exact same marketplace in the exact same ways, providing the exact same services (not much, save a few free tests and computerized parts lookup). CSK was using dumbterms and some hideous implentation of SCO Unix as recently as 2001. It was riddled with security holes, all of which I disclosed to management during my stay with the company. I'm not sure if CSK is presently financially involved with SCO or not, there were mentions of CSK migrating to a totally Windows-based "solution"
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://myweb.yahoo.com/myweb?ei=UTF-8&#38;friendid=T4qFetFg55d0hE7ouQNQWg--&#38;dg=0&#38;b=561" target="_newWindow">http://myweb.yahoo.com/myweb?ei=UTF-8&#38;friendid=T4qFetFg55d0hE7ouQNQWg--&#38;dg=0&#38;b=561</a>
Posted by Johni Depp (10 comments )
Link Flag
ms word on sco unix ????
I had no Idea that msword was working on sco unix. Or are they using ms windows at sco ?????
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Metadata document security
I think sooner rather then later, everyone will have to have a Metadata cleaner on their desktop. I have one and I can check any document sent to me...agreements, boiler plate documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint, resumes, etc. I use a product call Metadata Assistant. It's inexpensive and does the job. I'd hate to be applying for a job with an updated resume and have the employer tell me that I applied to too many competitors or ask me why I changed a title, numbers or information in my resume that I deleted or changed...OUCH! Or a company ask me why I gave them a higher price in a contract then one of their competitors...double OUCH!!
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Division between development and release
There really needs to be the same division between development and release that exists in software development when it comes to document development. The tools aren't there, and there isn't much discussion about what form those sort of tools should take.
Posted by Robert Claypool (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
document development
tools aren't there, and there isn't much discussion about what form those sort of tools should take.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://myweb.yahoo.com/myweb?ei=UTF-8&#38;friendid=9NNwZLPVBpddooSQt7oXaw--&#38;dg=0&#38;b=261" target="_newWindow">http://myweb.yahoo.com/myweb?ei=UTF-8&#38;friendid=9NNwZLPVBpddooSQt7oXaw--&#38;dg=0&#38;b=261</a>
Posted by Johni Depp (10 comments )
Link Flag
CROOKS IN BANK OF AMERICA
Hi
I had a big problem with Bank of America I can tell one thing for SURE all Crooks and Gangsters work in Bank of America Call me anytime I am not scared to go PUBLIC with my story . Please read my story on my Website all the details are on the Website www.bankofamericaextortioninsidejob.com
Feel free to call me I just want to bring this Story to Public and in News Papers,with the help of News Media. I can talk to you anytime you want
Thank you
(949) 440 0304 Email ls@businesstvl.com
Posted by sultanscott (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
If it walks like a piggy, talks like a piggy, by golly it?s a PIGGY!

BofA and it?s CEO Brian Moynihan reminds me of that song by John Lennon and George Harrison titled "Piggies" I invite you to listen to this song on youtube and see if it appropriately fits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIopI2isIKc&amp;feature=related</P

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.

Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
Always have clean shirts to play around in.

In their ties with all their backing
They don't care what goes on around
In their eyes there's something lacking
What they need's a damn good whacking.

Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

Wright vs. Bank of America Lawsuit at: unitedlawgroup.com

When I filed my lawsuit against Bank of America, myself and United Law Group thought of the many others out there in the same situation. It was then that we decided to educate the public on what these piggy banks are doing, as well as unite us all together as one voice. Please help me turn this David vs. Goliath modification process, into a Goliath vs. Goliath.

Please stand with me and United Law Group and send an email to Bank of America that states that we will no longer tolerate their potentially illegal, fraudulent, irregular and abusive business methods.

Divided we might have fell America, but united we must stand!

Please send your email directly to Bank of America and include the following:

1. Your name
2. Your complaint concerning your experience with Bank of America.
3. Please end your email ?I support John Wright vs. BofA Lawsuit!?
4. Please send a copy of your email to johns-wright@hotmail.com
5. Please send your email to both BofA link below and the CEO email


BofA Linked Email:
https://www3.bankofamerica.com/contact/?lob=general&contact_returnto=&state=VA

CEO Brian Moynihan:
brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.com
Posted by Bofalawsuit (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WELL I HAVE HAD ENOUGH AND I AM FIGHTING BACK!

John Wright Vs. Bank of America

Please join my fight or show your support through your comments at www.unitedlawgroup.com

Divided we might have fell America. UNITED WE MUST STAND!

Sincerely,
johns-wright@hotmail.com
Posted by Bofalawsuit (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.