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The SCO Group Inc. Wednesday said it has filed a copyright suit against auto-parts company AutoZone Inc., alleging the chain runs versions of the freely distributed Linux operating system that contain code belonging to SCO. Over the last several months, Lindon, Utah-based SCO has sent letters to about 1,500 companies demanding they pay licensing fees of about $700 for each server running Linux or face legal action. SCO holds the rights to key elements of the 30-year-old Unix operating system from which Linux was inspired, and claims parts of it have been incorporated in Linux. Those claims are disputed by, among others, IBM Corp. and Novell Inc. IBM and SCO have traded lawsuits over the matter. A spokesman for AutoZone, which is based in Memphis, Tenn., was not immediately available to comment. Unlike Unix or Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, Linux is developed by a worldwide community of programmers and is free to copy or download, making it attractive to many corporations. IBM, Intel Corp. and other have contributed to a legal fund that will help companies running Linux defray the cost of defending themselves against lawsuits. In a statement, SCO Chief Executive Darl McBride vowed to continue suing Linux users. Also Wednesday, SCO said that after paying dividends on preferred shares, it lost $2.25 million, or 16 cents a share, in its fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31. It lost $724,000, or 6 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue fell 16 percent to $11.4 million from $13.5 million. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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