Feeds

European court advisor slams software copyrights

SAS loses round in World Programming case

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A senior court advisor has issued an opinion to the European Court of Justice that software functions cannot be copyrighted.

"If it were accepted that a functionality of a computer program can be protected as such, that would amount to making it possible to monopolize ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development," wrote advocate-general Yves Bot in his opinion, as quoted by Reuters.

Bot's opinion was in reference to the long-running suit brought by the US-based business-analytics software company SAS Institute against the UK's World Programming Ltd, an SAS toolmaker.

The suit alleges that World Programming infringed SAS software copyrights and copyrighted manuals, creating "non-literal" copies of SAS analytical software.

Last July, the High Court of England and Wales ruled against SAS, but kicked the case up to the European Court of Justice for further review. As The Reg noted at the time of that decision, although the High Court acknowledged that World Programming's code emulated the functionality of SAS code, doing so was not an infringement of copyright.

"There is no suggestion that in doing so WPL had access to the source code of the SAS Components or that WPL have copied any of the text of the source code of the SAS Components or that WPL have copied any of the structural design of the source code of the SAS Components," the presiding High Court judge wrote in his ruling.

As explained by the IP watchers at New Legal Review, the EU Software Directive supports copyright protection for "expression in any form of a computer program", but also notes that "ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright".

Advocate-general Bot's opinion appears to be in line with the High Court of England and Wales' interpretation of that second statement from the EU Software Directive – that software functionality cannot be copyrighted.

We will discover if the European Court of Justice concurs when it issues its decision next year. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.