Is Emulating How A Piece Of Software Functions Copyright Infringement? UK Court Doesn't Think So...

from the but-we'll-have-to-wait-and-see dept

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.

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  1. icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), 27 Jul 2010 @ 7:34am

    Re: Reading source code is not reverse engineering

    tl ; dr entirely

    However I do agree the article was unclear on whether they actually stole and copied the source code, or reverse engineered it. In one sentence they said
    copied SAS manuals and source code in developing its own software offering.

    But later on they only cited copying of the manuals.
    Copyright certainly would have been violated if they copied the original source code rather than reverse engineering it.

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