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Software giant SAS loses copyright case in London

David beats Goliath, Goliath says he's fine actually

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SAS has lost an important copyright case in the High Court in London, although SAS insists it has not lost at all.

The software giant sued Worldwide Programming Ltd - a small UK firm - for breach of copyright and breach of license conditions.

SAS said WPL had breached its license relating to SAS Learning Edition in order to test and create its own software. It sought damages and an injunction to stop WPL selling its products.

But the High Court today ruled in WPL's favour. The judge accepted the right of company to copy the functions of a piece of software, as long as it does not copy source code, without breaking copyright.

But WPL did lose one aspect of the case. Wording in one of its user manuals was found to be too close to one of SAS's books. That manual must now be withdrawn.

The UK court will now hand the case over to the European Court of Justice to ensure it agrees with the UK's interpretation of the European Software directive.

SAS said WPL had not won and the important issues had been kicked up to the ECJ.

SAS General Counsel John Boswell said, “WPL issued a press release contending that they ‘secured a major legal victory’ in this case. This announcement was surprising in that the decisions the court handed down were related to the violation of SAS’ copyright on its manuals. Other decisions have not been made. They raise uncertain questions of law and have therefore been referred to the ECJ. We feel compelled to address the inaccuracies in the news release issued by WPL.”

You can compare and contrast - WPL's release, WP secures High Court victory against SAS, is here.

SAS's version of events, Court finds WP Ltd Infringed on SAS Copyrights; refers case to European Court of Justice, WPL claim of "High Court Victory" is false, is available here. ®

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