Feeds

Software functionality not subject to copyright: EU court

WPL-vs-SAS case gets Court of Justice opinion

SANS - Survey on application security programs

In a far-reaching decision for the software industry, the European Court of Justice has decided that the functionality of software – as distinct from the actual code – is not covered by copyright.

The decision concludes a long-running court case first brought by SAS against World Programming Limited (WPL).

WPL had gotten under SAS’s skin by buying a copy of its software and creating a feature by reading the description of the feature in the manual, and writing its own code.

SAS had attempted, in English courts, to get a finding that WPL had violated its copyright. In 2010, that led to a British High Court decision that copying the manuals violated copyright, and that WPL had violated its license agreement – but decided to refer the matter to the European Court to settle the copyright questions in light of EU intellectual property directives.

The court has decided that functionality, absent any viewing or copying of code, cannot be protected by copyright: “to accept that the functionality of a computer program can be protected by copyright would amount to making it possible to monopolise ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development,” the judgment states.

The court has also placed limits on the ways in which vendors can constrain customers under licensing agreements:

“[T]he owner of the copyright in a computer program may not prevent, by relying on the licensing agreement, the person who has obtained that licence from determining the ideas and principles which underlie all the elements of that program,” the court says (limited not by the EULA but by copyright law). ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.