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EU Programming

EU Court Rules APIs, Programming Languages Not Copyrightable 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-code dept.
itwbennett writes "The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that the functionality of a computer program and the programming language it is written in cannot be protected by copyright. In its ruling on a case brought by SAS Institute against World Programming Limited (WPL), the court said that 'the purchaser of a license for a program is entitled, as a rule, to observe, study or test its functioning so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie that program.'"
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EU Court Rules APIs, Programming Languages Not Copyrightable

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  • by itsybitsy (149808) * on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:15PM (#39874429)

    Interesting that computer "the format of data files" are not copyrightable!

    "the Court holds that neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression. Accordingly, they do not enjoy copyright protection."

    Very interesting.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:38PM (#39874581) Homepage

      It's kind of always been like this though. Compatibility and data interchange have always been protected. Without that protection, people would be unable to move their data into other formats and legally, a vendor could kill a customer's access to their own data by discontinuing their software. Those things just can't be allowed.

      What's "new" here is that it has been challenged in court and has been affirmed.

      Now what interferes with some of that are software patents...

      • by micheas (231635)

        The biggest thing that I can think of is that the later versions of PSD formats are not freely licensed, which is why they are not in the gimp.

        If I read this correctly it is possible for European software developers to use competitors file formats, which does not seem to be the case for American developers.

        • by ArcherB (796902)

          The biggest thing that I can think of is that the later versions of PSD formats are not freely licensed, which is why they are not in the gimp.

          If I read this correctly it is possible for European software developers to use competitors file formats, which does not seem to be the case for American developers.

          How about read a MSSQL DB?

      • by icebike (68054) *

        It's kind of always been like this though. Compatibility and data interchange have always been protected.

        From your lips to the Oracle Jury's ears....

        Note: I think You meant to say NOT Protected, (e.i. non-copyright-able).

        • by ppanon (16583) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:10AM (#39875709) Homepage Journal

          From your lips to the Oracle Jury's ears....

          To the Google-Oracle judge's ears. The jury have been specifically instructed to assume that APIs are copyrightable.

          That said, Jonathan Schwartz' testimony on day 9 was seriously damaging to Oracle's case. He established a sound basis for the argument that Java APIs had been officially released for use without a licence, and that Sun had claimed a licence was only necessary to obtain the JCK to certify Java compatibility. STo the best of my knowledge, Sun didn't go bankrupt but were instead bought by Oracle, so those statements should still be in force. I'm thinking there might be opportunity for some serious class action lawsuits for breach of contract from Java developers against Oracle using that testimony if Oracle pursue the matter of copyrighting and demanding licences for the APIs. Not to mention massive flight of developers from use of the language and collapse of the Java business as developers decide not to pray that Oracle doesn't alter the deal further.

          So there's reasonable hope that we might get a double win: a non-infringement ruling from the jury and a legal ruling against API copyrightability from the judge.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        It is not necessarily like this everywhere. Sure it's common sense, but the DMCA in the US forbids "reverse engineering" which can limit a lot of observing, studying, or testing of the program's execution. In this particular case, a program has been reverse engineered and emulated by another program and it did this without seeing or copying the original source code. Ie, a clean room implementation.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Actually, I should clarify. "Reverse engineering" means a lot of things, including disassembly. The court would forbid the disassembly here, however reverse engineering by duplicating observed functionality is ok.

          There's a lot in between those two extremes though. Ie, you can reverse engineer by observing that the machine or operating systems is doing; what device registers it writes to, what library functions it it calling, what system calls it makes.

        • by afidel (530433)
          No, what the DMCA doesn't allow is the dissemination of tools derived from knowledge gained by reverse engineering an effective copyright control mechanism and there are a few significant exceptions like academic works and for interoperability.
        • by White Flame (1074973) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:22PM (#39875235)

          but the DMCA in the US forbids "reverse engineering"

          No, it does not. The DMCA prohibits "Circumvention of Technological Protection Measures", specifically circumvention of measures to access copyrighted materials, and circumvention of measures to copy copyrighted materials. It prohibits the act of circumvention as well as distribution of circumvention tools.

          Reverse engineering is specifically *protected* in the DMCA, exempted from its prohibition, allowing you to circumvent access restrictions, if you need to achieve interoperability and the software is "lawfully obtained".

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        What's "new" here is that it has been challenged in court and has been affirmed.

        Isn't this just the same as saying you can't copyright the "look and feel?" I'm pretty sure that went through the court system a quarter century ago.

        • by dzfoo (772245)

          Actually, it didn't. If you are referring to Apple vs. Microsoft in the 1980s, then that wasn't the reason Apple lost--although it is popular to say so.

          Apple granted Microsoft a license to use certain elements of the UI, and Microsoft exploited this license by using such elements in their own GUI system.

          Apple lost some of their claims because apparently the license was broad enough to cover most anything. Note that they did win some copyright claims.

    • by icebike (68054) * on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:52PM (#39874709)

      Interesting that computer "the format of data files" are not copyrightable!

      "the Court holds that neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression. Accordingly, they do not enjoy copyright protection."

      Very interesting.

      The Format of the data file being non copyrightable is an excellent Idea. Most of the time the data in the file belongs to the user, and making the file format non-protected allows for data migration, whether by the user or a competitor's product. I've always maintained that user data belongs to the user.

      The wording "the functionality of a computer program" may not be copyrighted pretty much says you can't copyright what your program does, but you may be able to copyright the actual code. This too allows migration, and prevents the "monopoly of ideas", and that might be what they wanted to protect.

      My only worry is that wording "functionality of a computer program" is wide open to interpretation, and could be used to ban clones. But The court address this as follows:

      In that context, the Court states that if a third party were to procure the part of the source code or object code relating to the programming language or to the format of data files used in a computer program, and if that party were to create, with the aid of that code, similar elements in its own computer program, that conduct would be liable to be prohibited by the author of the program. In the present case, it is apparent from the explanations of the national court that WPL did not have access to the source code of SAS Institute’s program and did not carry out any decompilation of the object code of that program. It was only by means of observing, studying and testing the behaviour of SAS Institute’s program that WPL reproduced the functionality of that program by using the same programming language and the same format of data files.

      So if you simply write a program that produces the same output of some proprietary program, that is perfectly permissible. But If you had access to the proprietary source code and used any of that code you were liable for copyright infringement.

      This pretty much sounds the death knell for applications that attempt to lock you in. They might not help you migrate, but they can't use copyright laws to prevent the development of competing products.

      But rounded corners? Still protected?

      • This pretty much sounds the death knell for applications that attempt to lock you in. They might not help you migrate, but they can't use copyright laws to prevent the development of competing products.

        In the US, they can use patents. Consider the MICROS~1 extended filename patent for FAT.

        • Ooooh I miss calling Microsoft MICROS~1. The first time I saw that was when I went to Uni and had access to Usenet for the first time. This was after a few years of battling the awful Windows 95 for various friends, family and my secondary (high) school. I nearly fell of my chair. How times have changed.
      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:02PM (#39875435) Journal

        But rounded corners? Still protected?

        It so happened that this morning when I woke up, I inspected the four corners of my mattress.

        Holy Smithereens !!!

        All the four corners of my mattress are round !

        Am I gonna be sued now?

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Don't worry, the patent almost certainly has "on the internet" at the end. Unless your mattress includes A USB wireless dongle, you're probably safe.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        But rounded corners? Still protected?

        That has never been a copyright issue.

        These "rounded corners" can be protected in very specific situations, notably design patents. You're probably referring to Apple vs Samsung and cases like that. When you create a design (outlook) for a device then you may patent that. This device can be anything: mobile phones, laptops, car, machinery, whatever. It means that while that patent is valid no-one is allowed to make a lookalike device.

        So if you make a phone that looks exactly like an iPhone, Apple may preven

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Don't celebrate too soon.
      Patents may still apply to algorithms used in the file format (it makes me vomit in the mouth a little, having just said that) and content of those files is still copyrightable as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:18PM (#39874453)

    ...in which every book, song, movie, etc. is part of the syntax of the language, thus making them all uncopyrightable.

    • What, you think being clever will help you evade the law? If the people who drafted the law were not smart enough to close your loophole, you do not get to exploit it -- unless you are rich or a corporation.
    • While you were sleeping{
      Switch(XXX)
      Cold Case:
      Get Rich or Die Trying:
      Breaking bad;
      )
      }
    • by Xtifr (1323)

      I think you'll be unsurprised to discover that you could not claim copyright in such a language. Nevertheless, the individual elements of such a language could still violate the original authors' copyrights--but that has nothing to do with whether the language itself is copyrightable.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Creating something that's not copyrightable does not remove the copyright of the original work.
      It's just like how you couldn't copy a song and put the copy in the public domain, because doing so would be an act of infringement.

      You might conceivably create such a language, but the language wouldn't be protected. It implies that a programming language isn't necessarily "allowed" just because it might exist.

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      ...in which every book, song, movie, etc. is part of the syntax of the language, thus making them all uncopyrightable.

      The code itself is to copyrightable. The functionality is not (you know, the look and feel)

    • by Sique (173459)

      As this language will be a derivative work of every book, song, movie etc., it will require you to first obtain the copyright of every book, song, movie etc...

  • just patentable in Germany!

    • just patentable in Germany!

      Are they? There is a 1974 convention saying computer programs are not patented. This has been transposed in national laws of UE countries. Of course there is a lot of lobbying to change that, but it has not happened yet, AFAIK. EPO issues software patents, but they do not stand in courts for now.

  • by Jahava (946858) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:22PM (#39874487)

    This seems strangely relevant to the Oracle vs. Google case that's going on right now over Android and its usage of Java APIs. Does anyone know how much of a coincidence this EU court ruling is, that it occurs in such close proximity to its US analogue?

    • by luther349 (645380)
      the judge never said to the jury that api where copyright in google vs oracle. that was just a crappy headline that we seem to always get now. but it does not mater how that case goes right now win or lose you know its going to a higher court.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      It would be relevant if Oracle vs. Google was in the EU. Sadly, it is occurring in the US. Hopefully, the results will be similar, although IIRC it is a low-level court and won't matter much in the long run anyways (i.e. it won't set a precedent until it, inevitably, goes to appeal.)

      As it is, the timing is more or less pure coincidence. The judgment might be influenced by this decision, but it isn't too likely.

      • by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:29PM (#39874901)

        And the US Trade Representative would likely put the EU countries on the watchlist of states that need to improve IP legislation...

        • And the US Trade Representative would likely put the EU countries on the watchlist of states that need to improve IP legislation...

          That would not necessarily be a bad thing. When almost all countries of the world are on the list, the list loses its meaning.

        • by azalin (67640)
          This list turned into some kind of honor roll lately.
      • I would take issue that it's not relevant, but of course it's not binding. It's my understanding that higher courts do look to international precedent at times, so it's possible that this EU ruling will have some relevance as Oracle Vs. Google makes its way forward. I am wondering whether this will turn out to be as long a legal battle as SCO Vs. The Known Universe, and how Oracle will look by the end of it...
    • by icebike (68054) *

      I doubt this will enter into it at all, because that has gone to Jury. There is always the Appeal.

      Oracle was relying on the ruling that THIS ruling struck down to bolster its case that API interfaces were protected.
      Now that underpinning is gone, but perhaps too late for this round.

      • Not true. The issue of copyrightability hasn't been decided in the Oracle case; the jury has just been asked to assume it for the sake of their deliberations. That way if they conclude that the case is a loser regardless, the court doesn't have to tackle the copyrightability issue.

        If the jury comes back with a finding of infringement, only then will the court attempt to decide the legal question of copyrightability.

      • by julesh (229690)

        I doubt this will enter into it at all, because that has gone to Jury.

        Just to clarify this matter: it is not up to the jury to decide whether there is a valid copyright. The question they are there to answer is, if there is a copyright in Java's API design, did Google infringe it?

        If they answer yes (it would be rather perverse if they didn't, but stranger things have happened), then it will be up to the judge to decide on the point of law of whether the copyright is valid or not. If they answer no, he will not have to make any such decision.

        The judge has not made a ruling t

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Isn't this different? Google recreated/copied that language and still call it Java. To use car analogy Oracle Java(TM) is like Ford Mondeo(TM) and Google created their own unlicensed Mondeo and even named it Mondeo, Microsoft for example branded it J++ instead of Java. Google is using the word Java all over in their documentation. To me this look is more like trademark and design patent (Java syntax) problem then a copyright issue.
      • by Forever Wondering (2506940) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:30PM (#39875281)

        Isn't this different? Google recreated/copied that language and still call it Java. To use car analogy Oracle Java(TM) is like Ford Mondeo(TM) and Google created their own unlicensed Mondeo and even named it Mondeo, Microsoft for example branded it J++ instead of Java. Google is using the word Java all over in their documentation. To me this look is more like trademark and design patent (Java syntax) problem then a copyright issue.

        This ruling says that Google was within its rights to reverse engineer Java and create Dalvik (the VM). While you're correct about the possible trademark angle, trademarks are a funny thing.

        For one, "java" is a slang term for coffee. This was true before the language. That's why the java logo is a steaming cup of coffee. Thus, because it's a common term, it may not be eligible to be trademarked.

        Unlike patents [where you may selectively pursue infringers as you choose without losing any rights], trademarks must be vigorously enforced. You must take legal action against just about anybody using the trademark improperly.

        If you don't, you lose the right to the trademark (e.g. Kleenex for tissue, Thermos vs vacuum bottle, Sanka for decaf coffee). All these trademarks/brands allowed a usage (and it only takes one) in a generic way and lost the right to the trademark. That's why aspirin is a trademark [of Bayer Pharmaceuticals] in Europe, but in the U.S., it's a generic term for a pain reliever that any manufacturer may use.

        I suspect that Sun/Oracle has been too loose about this and we'll be able to strip them of their trademark readily enough.

        • by rossz (67331) <ogre@@@geekbiker...net> on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:00PM (#39875425) Homepage Journal

          For one, "java" is a slang term for coffee. This was true before the language. That's why the java logo is a steaming cup of coffee. Thus, because it's a common term, it may not be eligible to be trademarked.

          Quite the opposite. The less the term/phrase describes the product, the stronger the trademark. Thus, Apple is an excellent name for a computer company, but would probably be rejected if a fruit company tried to use it as a trademark. Microsoft should have been considered a weak trademark, but they got lucky and have the money to fight any attempts to revoke it.

          Since Java and coffee really don't have anything to do with computing (other than it being the primary component of geek blood), it's a pretty strong trademark.

          IANAL, but got that information from an article written by a trademark lawyer years ago.

      • by Rennt (582550) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:20PM (#39875513)
        Minor niggle - Google did not call their implementation Java. They have been quite consistent in their message that it is NOT Java. This is because Java is protected by trademark, and Sun required to you implement the full Java specification before allowing you to call your implementation Java.
      • by julesh (229690)

        Trademarks are really only enforceable in marketing material, and even then only if they are misleading as to the origin of the product. Google are quite strict about avoiding mentioning that Android is based on Java in any of their marketing material. Reference material and strictly factual discussion of a product are not subject to trademark restrictions. The fact is, that in order to program for Android, you use Java. Usually, you use Oracle's Java implementation, typically to run Eclipse (although y

    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:46AM (#39875851) Journal

      Good, someone else noticed this, and I believe it cannot be an accident. I cannot quite tell if the Euro judges accelerated a timeline to get their ruling in first, but the 21st century is quickly becoming the "IP battleground" and this looks like almost an Amicus Curiae from "another jurisdiction".

    • This seems strangely relevant to the Oracle vs. Google case that's going on right now over Android and its usage of Java APIs. Does anyone know how much of a coincidence this EU court ruling is, that it occurs in such close proximity to its US analogue?

      100% coincidence.

      Also the judge has instructed the jury to deliberate assuming that the structure, sequence and organisation of the API is copyrightable; They're to determine given if the APIs are sufficiently similar, comparing all 166 Java packages not just the 33 accused,)and if so, if Google has infringed and whether or not they're use is allowed under fair use.

      The Judge has not said that APIs can be copyrighted. He reserves that decision for himself, and will only be forced to make such a decision if the jury finds that Google has infringed (assuming the SSO of an API is copyrightable). Since the jury is already deliberating in the Oracle v Google case no new evidence will be presented to them. Although US copyright laws are different than EU law, the Judge knows that his decision could have huge impacts on the software market.

      I like Judge Alsup, he's smart. He only has to decide if Google's found to be infringing... Furthermore I think he's begun to understand the absurdity of Oracles claims:

      Judge: Question about specification. Your description made it sound like a black box with something inside. You have input on that side and output on that side, and the spec says what the inputs gotta be, and the outputs gotta be, and the implementation is what's in the black box.

      Owen Astrachan: That is a very good explanation. I like that explanation.

      [Judge smiles]

      - Reported Transcript [groklaw.net]

      In the black box analogy the API would be like Google and Oracle both labeling their volume knobs the same name and making clockwise rotation increase the volume... It sounds intuitive that if Google's black box has all the same placement and functions and labels as an Oracle box that they coppied the SSO of the Interface (API) -- However, they must have done so in order to provide interoperability, and courts have made exceptions for such use in the past. As long as the operation manual (code comments) are sufficiently dissimilar I can't see where Oracle has a copyright case. Their patent case is another story.

      This EU ruling is interesting to me as a software developer... My fellow game devs are dispersed globally. In the near future we'll be selecting a home base of operations. If the APIs are found copyrightable in the US, but not EU, we may opt to have our base of operations outside the US. (we may do so any way for patent concern reasons -- Fix the damn copyright and patent system USA, it's HURTING your business)

  • Read the decision (Score:5, Informative)

    by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:27PM (#39874507) Homepage Journal

    Read what the decision actually says. The source code and object code which implement a system are covered by copyright, but the interfaces and algorithms implemented by that source code are not.

    It's a fine distinction, but it essentially says that if you can reverse engineer the requirements of an API by observing it's behaviour, you are free to re-implement that functionality. i.e. You have to use so-called "clean-room" techniques, where the team that did the functional analysis of the APIs to write the specs have absolutely nothing else to do with the team that writes the implementation.

    • Re:Read the decision (Score:4, Interesting)

      by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:28PM (#39874513) Homepage Journal

      Were this applied to the Oracle-Google Java case, I think this basically says the EU would rule in Google's favour.

      • Maybe not. Part of Oracle's complaint is that some of the source code is copied. The argument is whether it's trivial/coincidental or not.

        • 9 lines were copied (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Part of Oracle's complaint is that some of the source code is copied.

          A grand total of 9 lines were copied, and as soon as they were identified they were removed from the Android sources. Furthermore, that RangeCheck function was so trivial that any Java beginner could have written it (this was stated in court testimony), so Oracle would get no substantive damages even if the jury denied the fair use defence for those 9 lines.

          So yes, I have to agree with the parent that Oracle would lose in EU. They are li

          • by spacepimp (664856)

            timsort was a direct port from python if it matters.

            • by julesh (229690)

              Not really, the 9 lines in question were not a direct port of any of the code in the python implementation [python.org], but rather a simple range check to ensure that accesing a range of items in an array was a valid action prior to starting the sort. As the python operation worked on lists or list slices (which come with embedded pre-checked range data) rather than array ranges, it did not need to perform this action.

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          Yeah. Nine whole lines out of 13 million.
          • Yes, almost like claiming that you have violated the copyrights by copying the words "to be" from the works of Shakespear.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Old Europe hopes to draw the smart people back, away from the US legal EULA mess.
      http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/12/court-you-do-not-own-that-copy-of-wow-you-bought.ars [arstechnica.com]
      "Give me your hardwired, your sophomore,
      Your huddled hoaxes yearning to code free,
      The gifted gnus of your crumbling bookstores.
      Send these, the faithless, gymnast-tost to me,
      I lift my laptop beside the golden port!"
    • You don't have to use clean-room reverse engineering. You can peer into the implementation however you choose so long as you respect the copyright with original code in the reimplementation (and any contractual obligations).

      What Compaq did to RE the IBM PC BIOS was an overly cautious CYA move to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit from IBM. It is often forgotten that IBM provided a technical reference manual with full schematics and complete assembly listings for the BIOS. Compaq felt the need to prove that

      • by msobkow (48369)

        I wasn't clear in what I meant.

        The Java library source Google used is not based on the official Java source, but the Apache re-creation of the APIs. The ruling seems to make it clear that such a rewrite is not subject to copyright infringement claims in the EU.

        I had commented to that effect afterwards, but even then I didn't explain my thinking.

        You are correct -- the ruling doesn't mandate clean room engineering, and specifically says that referencing manuals for the APIs is allowed. What I meant i

    • by snowgirl (978879)

      Read what the decision actually says. The source code and object code which implement a system are covered by copyright, but the interfaces and algorithms implemented by that source code are not.

      It's a fine distinction, but it essentially says that if you can reverse engineer the requirements of an API by observing it's behaviour, you are free to re-implement that functionality. i.e. You have to use so-called "clean-room" techniques, where the team that did the functional analysis of the APIs to write the specs have absolutely nothing else to do with the team that writes the implementation.

      ... unless such functionality violates patents... this decision of course made no comment about such behavior and patents, only copyrights. This is generally already the case in the US, except that US law allows for wide software patents, which are usually used to quash competitors, and reimplementations. "You can't reimplement FAT, because we hold patents that are necessary to the process." and "You cannot generate compressed GIF files, because we hold patents that are necessary to implement the compressio

    • It's a fine distinction, but it essentially says that if you can reverse engineer the requirements of an API by observing it's behaviour, you are free to re-implement that functionality. i.e. You have to use so-called "clean-room" techniques, where the team that did the functional analysis of the APIs to write the specs have absolutely nothing else to do with the team that writes the implementation.

      Heh, I like how If I take the API specs and create my own implementation, I'm guilty until proven innocent of infringment, and surely guilty unless I used a clean room technique.

      Except that's just wrong! I can think of one very important instance: Stallman's part in the Lisp Machines, Inc. and Symbolics debacle over Lisp. Symbolics Lisp shared code with MIT Lisp, but Symbolics didn't want their improvements used by the competition. Stallman didn't use a clean room, but he re-implemented feature per fe

      • It's not actually necessary to have a clean room, Chinese wall or whatever. It's just an extra line of defence, a CYA.

  • Everyone is flipping out over the Oracle vs. Google judgement, and this comes out of no where?! This is exactly what everyone on slashdot wanted, but no one was talking about a case whose out come has similar ramifications!?

    What's going on!?

  • I can convert any stream of bits into an API specification.

  • This is no news ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:42PM (#39874629) Homepage Journal

    European court rules ....
    Sorry, this is law
    A court is not "ruling" what is "law".
    In europe we have laws that define what is "the case" what is "right" or what is "wrong" ...
    I don't know the background, but going to court and asking for a rule if APIs are copyrightable is so plain stupid it is beyond believe. The law explicitly states: APIs or SQL data definition statements are ... surprise surprise: not copyrightable

    Seems half of the world does not understand how a court works. There is a law. There is a subject. And the judge decides if the subject is afflicted by the law.

    Pretty simple.

    • by s2jcpete (989386)
      Laws are open to interpretation which lead to precedents which found the basis for future interpretations. Which half did you belong to?
    • Where is this "explicitly stated?"
    • by u38cg (607297)
      Pfft, you Eurpoeans and your Napoleonic Codes. Here in Britain (and in the US) we have this majestic concept called the Common Law.
  • The argument is hard to make to laymen, however, how things like this and DRM only criminalize understanding things.   Which is bad.
  • Them's fightin' words!
  • I wonder if this will have any effect on the Oracle/Google suit considering international copyright treaties.

  • >> >> 'the purchaser of a license for a program is entitled, as a rule, to observe, study or test its functioning so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie that program.'"

    Does this really affect the DMCA?

    The DMCA already says that reverse engineering DRM is acceptable only under certain conditions (mostly to do with interoperability). I guess this ruling overrides that so you can now reverse engineer DRM anytime as long as you are the purchaser of a licence to use the DRM? Which

  • by Thatmushroom (447396) <Thatmushroom@@@mille352@@@purdue...edu> on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:54PM (#39875661) Homepage

    WPS (the SAS-compatible software produced by WPL) is a pretty darned good SAS clone for a fraction of the cost. I'm positive that they thought suing was a good business decision, even if they knew they didn't have a leg to stand on. The impact of WPL's existence is going to hurt their bottom line much more than what they had to pay their legal team. I don't have anything in the fight (other than being a user of both), I'm just happy to see something that'll either make SAS drop the price, or that we've found a good replacement.

    • by Lando (9348)

      Oh, German courts aren't like US courts? I mean in the US it wouldn't be about winning against the opponent, it's about costing them so much in legal fees that they go out of business.

  • I could have told them for a much smaller fee. That kind of thing is obvious to anyone with even a remote understanding of copyright.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.

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