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Computer programming languages should not be viewed as copyrightable, says High Court judge

Computer programming languages should not be viewed as copyrightable, says High Court judge CC BY-SA opensourceway http://goo.gl/JO1q8

Mr Justice Arnold said it was his "provisional view" that a computer programming language could not be considered a 'work' in which copyright could subsist.

The judge was giving his opinion on the issue in a case involving rival software developers, SAS Institute (SAS) and World Programming Limited (WPL), in which he cleared WPL in most respects of having infringed SAS' copyright when it obtained a licence to use SAS' software in order to test out that programme, read instructions SAS had published in accompanying user manuals, and then create its own rival software programme.

Mr Justice Arnold formed his judgment after considering the way the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had answered questions he had posed it. He had sought guidance on how to interpret EU copyright laws laid out in the Computer Programs Directive when determining whether or not WPL had committed copyright infringement.

The judge had already determined that WPL was guilty of infringing SAS' copyright by reproducing a substantial part of SAS' user manuals in its own manual to accompany its rival software – a judgment he reiterated in his latest ruling.

Under the Computer Programs Directive copyright protection is given to "the expression in any form of a computer program" but does not apply to "ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces".

Read full history: http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2013/january/computer-programming-languages-should-not-be-viewed-as-copyrightable-says-high-court-judge/

Via: http://www.out-law.com

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 12:16
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