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SCO Legally Assaults PJ of Groklaw 340

Posted by Zonk
from the when-will-it-end dept.
Litigious Bastards writes "SCO has just filed court papers saying that they were unable to subpoena PJ of Groklaw. While they apparently sent their crack team of process servers out looking for random people named Pamela Jones, it would appear that they were unable to locate the bright yellow envelope labeled 'Email PJ' on the Groklaw website to ask for directions to serve her in person. They're once again accusing her of working for IBM or Novell, and Groklaw is now hosting over 20 documents PJ claims were planted in the media in an effort to discredit her. As she says, 'And so the stupidest lawsuit in the history of the world just got stupider. And a whole lot meaner.'"
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SCO Legally Assaults PJ of Groklaw

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  • by Askmum (1038780) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:16AM (#18619287)
    I wasn't aware of the fact that assault was legal in the US.

    SCNR
  • by Cytlid (95255) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:19AM (#18619329)
    ... that they're also looking for an elusive character to subpoena, his name is "Honest Truth".
  • SCO still exists? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MarkByers (770551) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:25AM (#18619403) Homepage Journal
    I'd have thought SCO would be bust by now, given the amount of money they must be spending on lawyers, and on how fast their customers must be running from them. Does anyone how they are still able to make money?
    • by neongenesis (549334) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:38AM (#18619561)

      Micro$oft has both purchased a very large license for undisclosed Unix IP (can't they get anything that they need from BSD?) and has been implicated at least a little bit in under-the-table assurances to places like Baystar that their "investment" in SCO will be covered when it is lost.

      It has probably been worth a great deal to spread IP FUD about Linux until Vista gets up and going. Do you think that they have gotten their money's worth in funding TSCOG's long slow suicide?

    • Funded by Microsoft (Score:5, Informative)

      by alienmole (15522) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:40AM (#18619591)
      It's funded by Microsoft [slashdot.org]. Your Windows dollars at work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhfry (829244)
      There are nefarious groups in the world that would like to see SCO win and put Linux back into obscurity. Ironically, this case has had exactly the opposite effect that they intended.

      It's shed light on the ridiculousness of software patents, and brought clarity to copyright law. Additionally it's shown that there are companies who are willing to stand up for Free Software, even at great expense.

      I think those who have funneled money into SCO all deserve a round of applause for helping to validate Free Soft
      • Re:SCO still exists? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @10:30AM (#18620339)

        It's shed light on the ridiculousness of software patents

        On the contrary, it's shown that the system, slow as it is, at least works reasonably. They abandoned the lame-o patent claims long ago when it became clear they weren't winning them. Not to mention which, no software patents were never declared invalid in this case; rather, it simply became clear that SCO's interpretation of the licenses was retarded. In that sense, the patent claims were a matter of contract law, which was what was in fact disputed. Since then, this has become purlely a copyright case, and they're obviously losing that too.

        and brought clarity to copyright law.

        I don't know what's been clarified, other than the fact that there isn't any SCO-owned code in Linux save what they put there and has since been removed. Copyright law has always been clear with regard to this case: don't copy what isn't yours. Problem is (for SCO), IBM didn't.

        Additionally it's shown that there are companies who are willing to stand up for Free Software, even at great expense.

        I'd be wary - IBM is standing up for themselves. When they start filing amicus briefs in cases they're not involved in, that don't impact them directly, then I'll agree with that. Are they?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jhfry (829244)

          it's shed light on the ridiculousness of software patents

          On the contrary, it's shown that the system, slow as it is, at least works reasonably. They abandoned the lame-o patent claims long ago when it became clear they weren't winning them.

          Kinda my point. They dropped the pursuit of patent claims that were no better than their copyright claims, because they realized that it's more a more difficult to fight for the patent issues. I am not saying they blew the doors wide open, but the fact that they chose the copyright fight over the patent one demonstrates that not even complete idiots will try and fight Free Software over patent issues. (exaggeration, and flaimbait I know).

          and brought clarity to copyright law.

          I don't know what's been clarified, other than the fact that there isn't any SCO-owned code in Linux save what they put there and has since been removed. Copyright law has always been clear with regard to this case: don't copy what isn't yours. Problem is (for SCO), IBM didn't.

          Their case with IBM has clarified how Free Software can defend its

      • Re:SCO still exists? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n e t z ero.net> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @10:37AM (#18620455) Homepage Journal
        I would also like to point out that prior to this lawsuit that it was a common mantra of FUD that the GPL had not ever made it into court to be tested, so it was unknown what its status in court would ever hold.

        This lawsuit changed all of that, and has shown that the GPL is far stronger than ever... especially GPL v 2.0 (the 3.0 debate will open this FUD up all over again, but at least the principles have already been tested).

        Now when somebody tries to sue based on the "unconstitutionality" of the GPL or comes up with all other kinds of crazy ideas that the GPL is legal BS, you can simply show them SCO and a graph of their stock price after they filed their lawsuit, and mention that SCO is one of the most heavily shorted stocks ever in the history of NASDAQ. The only reason their price goes up at all is because people are trying to "cover" their short sell, which requires actual purchase of shares.

        Send such a graph to major investors of a company suing based on the GPL, and I'm sure they will stand up and take notice. The only possible reason to keep something like that going is if (like SCO) the investors are from other companies who don't care if the "investment" goes straight into the toilet and have other political goals in mind.

        The last word about the SCO lawsuit has yet to be written, and this is going to be very interesting where it will go once SCOX is delisted and the SEC gets into the mess. I'm sure they will at some point.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RedHat Rocky (94208)
        "There are nefarious groups in the world that would like to see SCO win and put Linux back into obscurity. Ironically, this case has had exactly the opposite effect that they intended."

        To people who have a clue and pay attention, I agree.

        However, I have run into people, and I mean IT managers, directors, sysadmins, who honestly thought there was "legal problems" with that "Linux stuff".
        There was damage done with this FUD and it has not gone completely away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's a shame that groklaw.net seems off-line right now. Look for the records there on how Microsoft is helping keep SCO afloat by sponsoring "partnerships" with other Microsoft companies. It's also amusing how the money is just enough to keep SCO afloat: this weakens Linux with all the nonsense being spewed by SCO, but also keeps SCO from being able to do useful work with their own UNIX licenses.

      It's certainly more desirable for Microsoft to interfere with both markets than to help either side win.
    • Sort of... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Excelcia (906188)
      SCO's stock price has been hovering around the 85-90 mark for the last few weeks. I think they only have a week or so left of it being under $1 before they get a delisting warning from NASDAQ.

      So ya, they're still hanging in like a set of nasty klingons that resist toilet paper - but while I don't expect the big flush to come tomorrow, I really don't think they have any more than three months left.
  • Counter sue?

    Nah, I'll just call my Cousin Vinnie.

    Baseball bat and umm...

    You named SCO? I heard you're giving a friend of mine, PJ, some problems. Let's talk.

  • by theonlyholle (720311) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:28AM (#18619437) Homepage
    At least I've paid her a couple of times and I suspect others have done the same. There are some very convenient donation links on Groklaw and for every donation I have sent so far I have received a friendly "thankyou" email. But even if she *did* work for IBM, that wouldn't change the facts of the case and I would still enjoy reading the legal analysis, which is pretty sound once you take out the sometimes over the top OSS "fangirlism" that I occasionally find a bit annyoing.
    • From one point of view, SCO is in the middle of cold war between the superpowers of IBM and MS. Neither party is going to direct the other directly, so SCO is used as a proxy.

      On the internet, no one knows you are a dog, so I make no assumptions about any presence unless I have first hand confirmation. So, does Pamela Jones exist, and if she does is she largely funded by IBM, and if she isn't does IBM have a presence in her life? I don't see any evidence to draw any conclusions. However, if it is true

    • SCO's filing makes it quite clear that PJ works for IBM, and has been dodging their subpoena like so many Bill Clintons during the Nam war.

      Beginning on page 3 of
      http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/IBM-1018.pdf [groklaw.net]

      You will see *numerous links to all sorts of blogs that reinforce SCO's theory about her. This, obviously, is damning evidence. Also, for about eleven minutes on August 6, 2006, the Wikipedia article on PJ clearly stated that she was an undercover IBM agent and a "$£77¥ h0!!!!"
  • by giafly (926567) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:29AM (#18619449)

    A Montana man has sued media giant Viacom, saying the MTV show "Jackass" plagiarized his name [power-of-attorneys.com], infringed on the trademark and copyright of his name and defamed his good character. The plaintiff's name is Jack Ass.

    An inmate in a Virginia penitentiary has filed a lawsuit against himself [assetprotectioncorp.com], claiming that he violated his own civil rights by getting arrested.

    When fans of eating can no longer trust their cheese-covered puffs boiled in oil to be healthy, it's more than sad. It's your ticket to millions. Meredith Berkman claims the secret fat caused her "weight gain, mental anguish, outrage, and indignation." [thewavemag.com]
    Nope. Not even close. [google.com]
    • by Jaywalk (94910) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:48AM (#18619713) Homepage
      Yeah, there are a lot of idiot lawsuits out there. But how many have gone on for four years, cost this kind of money and involved this many people? SCO sent threatening letters went to 1500 companies, sued two of their own clients and three of their former business partners. And, as is becoming increasingly clear, they really didn't have any real evidence to start with.

      Maybe you could find a suit based on a stupider premise, but I don't think anyone can beat SCO for the sheer scale of their stupidity.
      • by dtjohnson (102237) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @12:00PM (#18621941)
        So Microsoft is funding the Baystar investment in SCO that's behind all of this. Microsoft drops chump change and casts a 5-year cloud over IP FUD over Linux at the same time that Microsoft is ramping up their licensing fees, releasing a new DRM-crippled version of Windows called 'vista', and generally consolidating their worldwide windows franchise. In a normal marketplace, doing all of those customer-unfriendly things at once would cost you your customers. But with the SCO cloud hanging over Linux, it's value as a serious alternative to Windows for corporate and government customers has been severely compromised. Imagine for a moment that there had never been a SCO lawsuit. Maybe then HP, Dell, and Lenovo would be successfully hawking Linux desktops and laptops to rapidly growing corporate, government, and personal markets and Linux would be on magazine covers everywhere instead of...vista. So...you can call the SCO lawsuit a lot of things but you what you can NOT call it is a stupid move on Microsoft's part.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rodness (168429)
        The conspiracy theorist in me (I don't let him out much) wonders...

        This whole thing could be an elaborate Microsoft scheme to discredit Linux:

        1) Enrich Darl enough so that he won't care when his personal/corporate image is sullied (even further).
        2) Have SCO file idiotic lawsuits to try to bury IBM in shit.
        3) Have SCO maintain these lawsuits even when lack of evidence is exposed, basically displaying psychotic determination.
        4) Regardless of the outcome of the trial, dump enough money into SCO to keep it on l
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:30AM (#18619469)
    1. Are you legally obliged to make it easy for someone to subpoena you? eg. by replying to an email asking for that information.
    2. Is it a particularly good idea to email an address on a website which may or may not go to the correct person asking "Hey, where do you live, we want to serve legal documents on you"?
    • by Billosaur (927319) * <`wgrother' `at' `optonline.net'> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:37AM (#18619553) Journal

      Well, this is for the New York City Civil Court [smallbusinessrescue.com] (your mileage may vary), but it would seem that it is up to the server to find the person to be served. I really don't think they can legislate that the person being served make themselves more available, sonce there's no real way to know who will receive a subpoena ahead of time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Teancum (67324)
        No, but there are tangible assets that can be dealt with in the case of an ISP or even a simple website. Certainly you have the domain "owner" that ought to have a legal address somewhere. You can at the very least trace the owner of the IP block, find out the ISP, subpoena billing records, and eventually trace it to the "owner" if they put something as their address for the DNS records as "somewhere on Utopia Planatia, Mars". You can be found.... although certainly it is not necessarily something easy.

        A
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by number11 (129686)
          Certainly you have the domain "owner" that ought to have a legal address somewhere.

          Yup.
          >Registrant:
          >Domains by Proxy, Inc.
          >DomainsByProxy.com
          >15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
          >Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
          >United States

          So you need to deal with their lawyers first. That assumes that they know. The webmaster and the nameservers are in the Netherlands. But (if you do find him) I'm sure he'll be impressed by a subpoena from Utah.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gad_zuki! (70830)
          Uh, ok

          Administrative Contact:
          Private, Registration GROKLAW.COM@domainsbyproxy.com
          Domains by Proxy, Inc.
          DomainsByProxy.com
          15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
          Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
          United States
          (480) 624-2599

          Why is groklaw so secretive? If they do end up working for IBM in any way I hope they apologize and fold up for being astrturf.
    • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@NOSpaM.castlesteelstone.us> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:53AM (#18619787) Homepage Journal
      1. Are you legally obliged to make it easy for someone to subpoena you? eg. by replying to an email asking for that information.

      IANAL (I do have most of a Paralegal degree, sans only Ethics.)

      I am not aware of any statute that requires you to actively seek out a subpoena. However, if you do successfully avoid a subpoena, you'll just wind up with a court summons, or a warrant. Generally, if someone's subpoenaing you it's in your best interest to read that subpoena ASAP, get yourself a lawyer, and talk to the judge. Don't avoid judges; they don't like that, and you don't want to be in the court of a judge who has reason to dislike you.
      • by LizardKing (5245) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @10:01AM (#18619901)

        IANAL (I do have most of a Paralegal degree, sans only Ethics.)

        I gather that the difference between a Paralegal degree and a Lawyer one is that there isn't an Ethics course in the latter.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by div_2n (525075)
          As funny as that is, it is actually quite simple. Paralegals pursue facts. Lawyers pursue victory. Facts sometimes get in the way of victory which means that if a lawyer really wants victory, that often means avoiding, distorting and conjuring up facts.
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @10:52AM (#18620743)

      The first assumption here is that SCO has honestly tried to serve PJ with a competent subpoena. From what I remember about SCO and subpoenas, they have consistently delivered them to the wrong address (Chrysler), to the wrong people (Intel), had technical defects (Intel, Oracle), had procedural defects (Oracle, Intel, the Open Group), and with inadequate notice (Intel, Oracle, the Open Group).

      When the subpoenaed Chrysler, they sent it Chrysler's old corporate HQ which they moved out of years earlier. SCO sent a subpoena to Intel's legal department even though Intel had told them that they retained outside counsel for these matters, and SCO had worked with that outside counsel 45 days earlier. They send Oracle and Intel subpoenas for depositions without listing what topics to depose and wanted to take the depositions (in NY) 2000 miles from Intel's HQ (in CA). In CA where the OpenGroup, Oracle, and Intel are located, you are not allowed to drop a subpoena demanding a deposition and expect to be followed. According to rules, there must be a meet and confer with the other party (especially if they are third party to a lawsuit) to arrange these matters. When some of the procedural and technical defects were finally resolved, all three were given less than 24 notice to appear to testify about a broad number of subjects. Intel specifically objected noting that the depostion would require the appearance of 6-8 people and about a month of preparation to gather all the required documents.

      With SCO it has always been about tricks and delay.

  • More Trouble (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BCW2 (168187) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:32AM (#18619485) Journal
    Now PJ can file a civil claim and try to get what little is left of SCO. Better yet use discovery to find the individuals who have done this and file against them personally. Slander is possible. They have made a concerted effort to discredit her in the press and since their claims are all false it will be easy to prove. Don't sue a worthless shell, get the jerks and lighten their wallets, that will end this farce the quickest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mikelieman (35628)
      Pierce that Corporate Veil! Yeah Baby!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      Slander is possible. They have made a concerted effort to discredit her in the press and since their claims are all false it will be easy to prove. Don't sue a worthless shell, get the jerks and lighten their wallets, that will end this farce the quickest.

      You mean libel, right? According to wiki slander is a harmful statement in a transitory form, especially speech. Libel is a harmful statement in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast. Since SCO talked to t

  • by Zocalo (252965) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:36AM (#18619529) Homepage

    Clearly Groklaw is the biggest of the many sites that go over the minutae of the various SCO lawsuits, so they are probably quite correct in their assertion that it's materially impacting their business - and proves that you do indeed reap what you sow. So, SCO drags PJ into the lawsuit, probably knowing full well that it's almost certainly not going to get them anywhere legally, but that it will buy them yet more delays, something they really seem to like. IANAL, but from what I understand of US law free speech does not extend to those involved in a legal case being able to comment on that case, and that surely has to be the real goal here. By getting PJ involved in the case and getting really, *really* lucky, they might be able to effectively gag Groklaw, or at least limit what they can and cannot post.

    Personally, I think getting someone with a detailed knowledge of the case, a legal background, additional protections through being a journalist and despises you and your company onto the witness stand is not a smart move, but then I think SCO & BSF have already proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are not smart. Desperate maybe, but not smart.

    • As far as "free speech", while there are technicalities all over the place and it does get complicated with judges also claiming that you don't "lose your rights" when stuff happens like this, I would have to agree with you on a practical level. Once you have a lawsuit filed, you pretty much have to shut up.

      Of course there is explicit legislation that is designed to stop this sort of behavior by "activist groups" and others who are clearly on a political campaign and have previously been exercising their 1st amendment rights prior to a lawsuit that attempts to shut them up: http://www.thefirstamendment.org/antislappresource center.html [thefirstamendment.org]

      While SCO here is screwed financially as it is, normally this is something that is dangerous as the group (like PJ from Groklaw) which is sued, as long as they are on the safe side of libel laws, can counter sue for incredible amounts of money. In the arena of public opinion, it is also a P.R. nightmare to lose a SLAPP suit, not to mention it may have serious negative consequences if you are involved with other legal matters.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      By getting PJ involved in the case and getting really, *really* lucky, they might be able to effectively gag Groklaw, or at least limit what they can and cannot post.

      Gagging PJ doesn't gag Groklaw. At worst she would have to hand it off to someone else for a while. This may be the smart thing to do regardless, because I'm sure SCO will try to have the deposition sealed, then try to talk about every single aspect of the case with her, then attack her if she says so much as her name in public.

      But I suspect there are plenty of lawyers ready to go to bat for her, and if she needs to start a legal defense fund the donations will exceed SCO's market value within a few ho

  • by hey (83763) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:37AM (#18619549) Journal
    Her server is withstanding the Slashdotting pretty well.
    This proves "she" must really be IBM. (Joke.)

    Seriously, I hope someday, somebody can write a short (one page) clear and simple
    document explaining who owns the various *nix names and code.
    I'd like this short document to be sued and win so make it "proven".
    • Unix "ownership" (Score:4, Informative)

      by MathFox (686808) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:59AM (#18619881)

      Seriously, I hope someday, somebody can write a short (one page) clear and simple document explaining who owns the various *nix names and code. I'd like this short document to be sued and win so make it "proven".
      I hate it to destroy your hopes, but Unix ownership is a mess. AT&T sued several times, handled title to System V code to Novell, who settled with UCB. (That's where Free/Open/NetBSD got their freedom.) SCO claims to have received ownership on SysV from Novell, which is currently contested in Utah District Court.

      Many of the commercial Unices have some AT&T code in their kernels and utilities. Most of the original AT&T code has been bug-fixed out and there is serious dispute whether copyright applies on the remaining fragments. Other Unix variants are based on BSD code and lack any code where (AT&T/Novell/SCO) may claim copyright upon. Sun is a special case, as they contributed to SystemV and have more rights than mere SystemV licensees.

      Are you still with me or did you lose the plot somewhere?

      Sorry, you can not sue a document. There has to be a lawsuit regarding a real conflict between two legal entities.

  • by dasunst3r (947970) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:42AM (#18619619) Homepage
    ... then SCO should be tagged "funny." If you take a look at their stock (SCOX) since 2000, you will notice that they have gone from $94 to a mere $0.89.
  • by WorthlessProgrammer (895488) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:44AM (#18619651)
    I may have been the last serious Linux/GCC/Python user that has not visited Groklaw, but what the hey; it is 0625, I am still at work, and needed to "escape" to something unique on-line.

    The lady noted "Forsooth, methinks SCO folk need to get better aligned with truth, justice, and the American way, as the saying goes. But that's the judges' job, so I'll end my comments about this here."

    Was this hyperbole, or does she really have significant faith in the American justice system ? And this is not a rhetorical question. Others that read her often may want to answer.

    As for me, I have not been certain about the meaning of the "American way" for several years. As a former U.S. marine and Libertarian, I had a tendency to believe that the U.S. Constitution represented the most realistic opportunity for "justice".

    It now seems that the implementation does not meet the requirements of the abstraction.

    • by lenski (96498) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @10:21AM (#18620191)
      PJ has been flawlessly consistent in her trust in the U.S. legal system. She says that it can produce imperfect results, as can any human-created system, but it has a strong tendency to work in the right direction.

      In the SCO case, PJ has in her own inimitable way, contributed to this case going the right way: She brings the actinic glare of illumination onto a process that SCO, and others, have tried to accomplish.

      PJ started her blog several months before the SCO case became public knowledge, in order to connect geeks with legal concepts. She believed then and still believes that we (the technologists) should be aware of the rules of the game in order avoid being steamrolled by it.

      I've been reading the blog since early 2003, and PJ sounds like a gentle spoken (she insists on decorum) but very very intelligent paralegal. The truth justice and the American way language is backed up by consistent and finely honed research and argument. Plus one additional ingredient, a very angry hornet's nest: 10,000+ pissed off developers, some of whom have been around from the inception of UNIX and derived technologies. PJ, more than anything else, has brought us together to face the threat from SCO and folks like them, and for that alone her contribution is inestimable.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:45AM (#18619665)
    According to everything I've read, SCO wants to depose PJ for the Novell case not the IBM case. But they also want to include the deposition in the IBM once it is done. All depositions in the IBM case should have been done by now. They are trying to do an end-around the rules.
  • Correction! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dremorbius (88643) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:56AM (#18619839)
    Just to correct the article, the 20 documents refered to as listed on Groklaw were submitted
    by SCO as evidence that PJ/Groklaw have interferred with their Busines and to justify
    deposing her.

    Most of them seem to be net gossip/comment.

  • by Fysiks Wurks (949375) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:59AM (#18619871)
    Email SCO with your message " I AM P.J!"

    For authenticity you should be wearing your Spartacus gladiator arm shield or Roman slave tunic while typing.
  • by THESuperShawn (764971) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @11:23AM (#18621255)
    If PJ really wants to remain as anonymous as possible, I hope that is not her user ID and client login at the bottom of the Pacer docs (Pdf's).

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. -- Errol Flynn Any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure. -- Errol Flynn

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