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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Three media companies have asked a federal judge to unseal documents in the lawsuit by SCO Group against IBM.
U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball took the request by G2 Computer Intelligence Inc., CNET Networks Inc. and Forbes Inc. under advisement Tuesday. The media companies want Kimball to establish a process to determine which papers should be made accessible.
SCO, based in Lindon, Utah, claims in its $5 billion lawsuit that IBM copied Unix code into the freely distributed Linux operating system. SCO claims rights to Unix.
The media companies' attorney, Andrew Stone, argued Tuesday that, at the least, the parties should explain why the documents have been sealed.
He said documents so far have been filed in a confidential status unilaterally by the parties, without any finding by the court that they should be kept secret.
Stone said companies are making business decisions based upon perceptions of the case. The court's ultimate decision will be subject to "intense 'Monday morning quarterbacking,"' and there is a "need for public acceptance of the decision," he said.
IBM attorney Amy Sorenson said the media companies cannot validly claim that the proceedings have been closed or that the news media have been kept from reporting on the case. The litigation has "in no way been conducted in secret, nor should it be," Sorenson said.
Both the court and the parties have tried to keep as much of the case open as possible, she said, but making the confidential information accessible would open it up to "third parties, including actual and potential competitors" who otherwise would not see that business-sensitive information.
SCO attorney Brent Hatch also mentioned concerns about third parties. He wants Kimball to deny the media companies' motions but suggested that general confidentiality issues need to be addressed.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)