It's pretty widely accepted that for there to be copyright infringement of software, the actual code has to be copied. Reverse engineering is not considered infringing. However, software giant SAS is apparently challenging that view and has sued a small company, World Programming Ltd. in the UK and the US, claiming that it copied SAS manuals and source code in creating its own version of the software. The British High Court ruled last week that, while World Programming infringed on copyright in copying the manuals, and also used SAS software beyond the scope of its licensing agreement, it didn't think that reverse engineering aspects of SAS software infringed
, though it sent that part of the case to the European Court of Justice to make sure that this ruling fits within the European software directive. Hopefully, the ECJ agrees. Otherwise, it could create quite a mess for anyone who reverse engineers aspects of another company's software.