Protect your intellectual property or face open-source 'bandits', warns SCO exec

Protect your intellectual property (IP) now or risk having your business sacked by open source-touting bandits, SCO's president...

Protect your intellectual property (IP) now or risk having your business sacked by open source-touting bandits, SCO's president and chief executive officer Darl McBride warned.

Speaking at the Etre conference in Cannes, McBride, whose company is mired in litigation with IBM and others over patent infringement claims concerning Unix source code, warned of the "high stakes" if companies in the software and music businesses do not protect their property now.

"Once you put something in digital form, it's easy to copy. My question for you is how are you going to respond if that happens to your IP," McBride said.

The company is claiming that its proprietary Unix source code is being used in a Linux kernel which is used by several companies in their Linux-based development, without paying a licence to SCO.

As he fights a prolonged legal battle on several fronts, McBride has positioned himself as a de facto champion of IP protection amid growing threats from free, open-source development.

"SCO's market share has dropped from 40% to 10%. We are under attack from what I call 'hurricane Linux'," McBride said. However, he praised companies that have commercialised Linux, such as Red Hat.

In a speech intended to present the current place of Linux in the development of the tech industry, McBride tried to stir support for his company's battle.

"The open-source movement says that proprietary software shouldn't exist. They say that the operating system should be free, but that's a slippery slope," McBride said. "There's 12 million developers worldwide, are you going let their work be free?"

"I think it's clear to us that people can't give away things for free forever," said conference organiser Alex Vieux.

McBride said that his company would soon be building a website to set out SCO's side of the story.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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