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EU Court Adviser Says Software Ideas Can't Be Copyrighted

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the perhaps-a-bot-but-not-robotic dept.

EU 196

bhagwad writes "The EU continues to ooze common sense as a court insists that software functions themselves cannot be copyrighted. Drawing a box or moving cursor are examples. To quote: 'If it were accepted that a functionality of a computer program can be protected as such, that would amount to making it possible to monopolize ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development.'" Note that this is a "non-binding opinion by Yves Bot, an advocate-general at the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice," and that the court "will rule on the case next year."

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196 comments

Finally! (1, Interesting)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203976)

Some common sense! You can't copyright software on its own! It must be part of a device that you are copyrighting.

Re:Finally! (3, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204018)

So drawing a box or moving a cursor *on a PC* should be applicable to copyright?

Re:Finally! (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204432)

No... But if it's on a mobile device.....

Re:Finally! (5, Funny)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205186)

Does the box have rounded corners?

Re:Finally! Yes... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204108)

A kink in your armor, you British Scum.

Re:Finally! (4, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204206)

I think you're thinking about patenting software. Copyright is a different thing. Generally you patent a device. Copyright is for protecting written information.

Re:Finally! (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204848)

Some common sense! You can't copyright software on its own! It must be part of a device that you are copyrighting.

I think you're confusing copyright and patents. Of course you can copyright software. Saying you can't copyright software is like daying you can't copyright poetry.

Re:Finally! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204994)

Though you should the first, you should not the second. Because poets are arseholes.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205094)

How poetic!

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205054)

No. Saying you can't copyright software is like saying you can't copyright a recipe.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

Comboman (895500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205536)

You can't copyright a recipe but you can copyright a cookbook. Likewise you shouldn't be able to copyright a software design/function but you should be able to copyright a software implementation of that design/function.

Re:Finally! (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204886)

Some common sense! You can't copyright software on its own! It must be part of a device that you are copyrighting.

I'm pretty sure they're violating the rights of the holders of copyrights on use of Common Sense.

If the holders are the USPTO then it's not like they were doing anything with those rights, anyway.

Re:Finally! (2)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205370)

This case deals in the realm of copyrights, not patents. It's important to note that this is also the rule in the U.S. - neither ideas nor systems/processes/procedures can be copyrighted. The problem, however, is drawing the line between "ideas" (which aren't protected by copyright) and "expression" (which is protected by copyright). As in many areas of law, there is no easy way to determine what exactly is an idea and what exactly is an expression. That's what this case dispute's hinges around. In conclusion, not allowing copyright protection for ideas is nothing new and is absolutely not newsworthy. [DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a lawyer, and I am NOT offering legal advice.]

Re:Finally! (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205524)

You can copyright a piece of software in the EU as well, what you can't do is copyright an unimplemented "idea" .

Re: Epic fail comments (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205662)

Bullshit. Learn some *basics* before commenting.

1. Copyright is about written works. You know, books, source code, machine code, etc. Without copyright, GPL, BSD, etc. are dead.

2. Patents are about functionality and processes. Things like chemical reaction processes, bending steel into super-widget, etc.

This is the case of one company suing another as *copyright* infringement where the subject of the matter is functionality of software, not actual written work. Hence copyright does not apply. Case closed.

How Much (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203980)

How much money will US corporations throw at the EU cheeseheads to decide in their favor?
My guess: a lot.

Re:How Much (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204542)

There are Packers fans in Europe?

Please let the Americans know this ... (5, Insightful)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203994)

Dear EU,

Can you point out to those folks on the other side of the Atlantic that software patents stiffle invention and innovation.

Thanks.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (5, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204068)

His name may make them a little suspicious.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204486)

Bots have their uses you know.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204132)

They don't have to. U.S. courts recognize International Law as it exists.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204282)

They don't have to. U.S. courts recognize International Law as it exists.

Except when it doesn't suit them, and thats pretty much always.

Outrage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204222)

I *don't want* my competitors to innovate and invent. I *do want* to be able to monopolize ideas, technological progress be damned!

This judge should be silenced, as should anyone that would deny me the ability to deny my potential competitors the ability to steal my clients (and hence my money!).

Since when are the consumers the ones that matter? They are all poor for God's sake!

Re:Outrage (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204404)

Channel Steve Jobs much?

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204248)

Good lord, I can't help but wonder if all of these (ok, a few) good decisions are coming out now because those who usually meddle, and mess things up for us citizens, are too busy bungling around with the euro.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204300)

He would, but intercontinental communication using email is protected by patents in the US.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (5, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204316)

Dear EU,

Can you point out to Slashdot moderators the difference between copyright and patents?

Thanks

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204456)

maybe you don't realize that people do try to claim copyright on API's which are software.

Where have I heard that before....oh right? maybe the google vs oracle case?

Patents and copyright both have problems, at least we can work on one at a time.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (1)

Karljohan (807381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205268)

In sane systems (eg here)there is a clause allowing copying for interoperability. Without that I see no reason why they shouldn't sue if someone copies their API definitions.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204760)

Dear NoNonAlphaCharsHere,

Can you point out to Corporations and Politicians, that confusing patents and copyright to society and the Judciary isn't really helping their bottom line, and our future as a technological competitor?

Thanks

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205398)

Moderation should be used to indicate the contribution a post makes to a discussion, rather than the truth of the post. Think of it a bit like a debate -- you can debate something well even if you don't agree with it.

Intellectual Property is killing everything (5, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204346)

There are so many lawsuits flying around over patents, copyrights and wishful thinking that it's no wonder we are in recession. It doesn't matter what you want to do, you are going to get sued by someone. So why bother? People don't.

Re:Intellectual Property is killing everything (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204590)

There are so many lawsuits flying around over patents, copyrights and wishful thinking that it's no wonder we are in recession.

LOL. Yes, clearly recessions are caused by patents and copyrights, and not out of control bankers, loose regulations surrounding investment houses, and various European governments not being able to control their budgets.

Re:Intellectual Property is killing everything (2)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204646)

As more and more money is funneled to IP lawyers, that's less funding dedicated to investing in one's business! His assumption clearly makes sense!

Re:Intellectual Property is killing everything (5, Interesting)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204738)

I think both out-of-control bankers and out-of-control IP squabbles are symptoms of the current attitude in society, or at least among MBAs, that money can be created out of nothing. It's financial alchemy: it appears to work at first, but only because they are siphoning money away from somewhere else in the process, hence the recession. Solve the underlying attitude problem, and we solve all the symptoms at once. How to do that, I have no idea.

Re:Intellectual Property is killing everything (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204888)

Why can't it be all of the above?

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204360)

Can you explain to me how allowing people to copy something wholesale is innovation, whereby enforcing a framework that causes people to come up with new ways of achieving things stifles invention? I have such a hard time understanding this, particularly in light of the fact that the technology marketplace is thriving, larger than ever, and showing no signs of slowing down.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (2, Interesting)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204502)

We are software developers. We live on opposite sides of the planet and have never communicated with each other. Both of us come up with an idea for an application. We both choose to make and market this app. You file your copyright, I file mine a fed days later. 6 months down the road, you come across my version and seeing that it does the same thing, you file suit against me for violating your IP. You win and I go out of business paying you off. Now, the thing is, the users liked mine better. It was faster, had better interfaces, interacted with local non-application specific data etc. How is this fair market competition?

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204420)

Dear EU,

Can you point out to those folks on the other side of the Atlantic that software patents stiffle invention and innovation.

Thanks.

Actually, he's talking about copyrights, not patents. And this kinda shoots a hole in the old "software is already protected by copyright, so it doesn't need patents" theory.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205580)

Software is still protected by copyright. "Ideas" are not software.

Re:Please let the Americans know this ... (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204594)

Yeah! Point this argument out to those stifflers [wikipedia.org] and they'll have to start showing you some respect. Protip: flirting with their mothers in a way that shows off your sophistication and culture should get their attention.

Don't worry Apple (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203996)

Rectangles with rounded corners are still safe.

Re:Don't worry Apple (4, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204192)

Because that was a design patent, not a utility patent on a software concept.

Re:Don't worry Apple (2)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204464)

Not even a patent, it's a non-examined* registered community design.

* - Community Designs are not examined upon registration.

Re:Don't worry Apple (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204788)

It's still bullshit. Things have been that shape for many years, which was sort of the point of pointing out the occurrence in 2001 of a similarly shaped device.

Re:Don't worry Apple (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204820)

It's still bullshit.

That may be, but if bullshit is the law it is hard to fault companies for using it to their maximum advantage, as it is almost certain someone would find a way to use the bullshit against them.

If you don't like the game, yelling at the players is not effective. Change the rules.

Re:Don't worry Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205086)

I'll yell at the players as well as the people making the rules, thank you very much.

You have choice--what to buy, what to use, what to say in forums, etc. You may not always have much choice, and it might not always be clear what effects your choice have, but fundamentally, you have some choice. In my mind, it's better to use that choice in such a way as to try to effect positive change whereever you can, than to either wallow in apathy or excuse entities for making morally questionable decisions.

Apple made their choice--they didn't have to enforce a bullshit patent--and I choose not to buy their products because of it. I give my money to other companies. $1000 or so might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it's what I can do. That doesn't mean I don't also contact legislators, donate to the ACLU and EFF, and other things, it means I do both.

Re:Don't worry Apple (1, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205162)

In my mind, it's better to use that choice in such a way as to try to effect positive change whereever you can

Ranting on Slashdot is very unlikely to change patent law. But if it makes you feel better, carry on, but don't try to convince anyone it is to bring about positive change.

Re:Don't worry Apple (3, Insightful)

alendit (1454311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205190)

I love how corporations are, supposedly, people, but noone expects them to act ethically or for the good of the society. One would think, it was ment to be the other way around...

Re:Don't worry Apple (1, Funny)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205410)

I love how corporations are, supposedly, people, but noone expects them to act ethically or for the good of the society.

Define what that means. Are you suggesting that not patenting inventions, or failing to enforce the patents is ethical? If copycats take advantage of your R&D such that you lose market share and have to lay off employees, that is beneficial to society?

Are you really making the case that people, acting as individuals, are all ethical and act in the good of society?

Your world must be nice. Delusional, but nice.

Re:Don't worry Apple (3, Interesting)

alendit (1454311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205482)

I am making the case, that people who exploit loophole are generelly frowned upon by other people. A ambulance chasing lawer would be a typical example. Strangely, it's A-OK for corporations to do so.

And I reffer to your "That may be, but if bullshit is the law it is hard to fault companies for using it to their maximum advantage[...}". It would be not hard at all, it we would be talking about people.

Re:Don't worry Apple (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204940)

Two questions: What's the difference? And, how is that difference relevant?

Re:Don't worry Apple (4, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205122)

OK, I'll bite for a bit of 101 review, but it will be brief.

What's the difference?

A design patent is specifically about the look and feel of a product. This may include rounded corners. It does not rely on prior art in that no one made an electronic device with rounded corners before, but that this tablet computer with rounded corners and certain other features is a certain look and feel that does not exist yet in the tablet computer market.

And, how is that difference relevant?

A design patent is look and feel, a utility patent is how you do something.

It is really quite simple when you quit trying to make it difficult.

Re:Don't worry Apple (2)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204194)

That is a design protection, which is something completely different - unfortunately. Let us hope this recent sanity spreads so that the idea that "Software ideas can't be owned" becomes not only dominant but used in lawmaking.

Re:Don't worry Apple (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204366)

Rounded menu's in software, cant be copyrighted. Rounded corners on a tablet, 100% protected under the law.

Re:Don't worry Apple (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204446)

Rounded menu's in software, cant be copyrighted. Rounded corners on a tablet, 100% protected under the law.

Rounded menus in software can't be copyrighted.
Rounded corners on a tablet can be protected by a design patent.
Rounded menus in software can be protected by a design patent.

It's almost as if "copyright" and "design patent" mean different things.

YES! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204004)

Finally some common sense. This means that finally a government may end up undoing the DAMAGE that it CREATED in the first place, when it came up with all these copyright ideas.

Same goes for patents, by the way, the patents have to go.

Copyrights and patents - in most cases these are tools to create and promote monopolies and PREVENT competition and prevent any sort of innovation and undermine the economy. It's government that started this nonsense, it must be government to end it.

Re:YES! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204052)

Next thing you know you'll be saying monopolies are bad.
The reason we are having the problems in the US we are now is because of globalism and devaluing our labor by free software.

Developer? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204036)

Just wondering who programmed Yves Bot.

If only... (2)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204054)

"... that would amount to making it possible to monopolize ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development." If only this common sense extended to all patents as well. As if that would ever happen.

Re:If only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204106)

Patents and copyright are different for that matter. Patents are meant to make it possible to earn money on your invention while sharing it with the rest of the world, to stimulate progress and development. A given, what happens is sometimes the other way around.

Re:If only... (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204284)

Isn't that exactly the theory behind copyright as well?

Re:If only... (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204312)

Yup. Patents are to cover inventions (physical objects originally), copyright is to cover works (such as music, books, etc).

Re:If only... (2)

egamma (572162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204626)

Isn't that exactly the theory behind copyright as well?

The theory of copyright is that if you spend a year of your life and all your savings creating a useful device, that someone else shouldn't be able to come along, rip your work apart, and create a knockoff, charging less for it since they don't have research costs to recoup.

What is going on? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204058)

Someone in power gained a shred of common sense? Never thought I'd see the day...

Now that's solved. (pretty much) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204070)

Time to fix the rest of the IP protection system. Oh boy that's a mess!

Summary Clarification (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204072)

" software functions themselves cannot be copyrighted"
When it says "software functions", it doesn't mean functions, it means features, eg. click button to update the table. It's basically confirming that copyright can't be used in the same way as patents, that's why we have patents in the first place [as brain-damaged as they may be].

How is this relevant? (2)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204084)

I thought it was software patents that were the problem, not copyright. Or am I missing something?

Re:How is this relevant? (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204122)

The EU already doesn't allow software patents anyway (and those it has allowed are unenforceable).

Re:How is this relevant? (5, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204484)

The EU already doesn't allow software patents anyway (and those it has allowed are unenforceable).

Yes, it does. Or rather, it does in the same exact way as the US allows software patents... and US counterparts for the ones that are unenforceable are also unenforceable here.

In both Europe and the US, software on its own (or 'per se') is unpatentable, but a machine that executes software is patent eligible. Similarly, a method performed by a machine executing software is also patent eligible. Basically, the EPO had a parallel decision to the Bilski decision here, with the same result - software is still patentable, provided it's tied to a machine.

Re:How is this relevant? (2)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204514)

Well... The EU has no patent authority per se. The EPO however, does allow software to be patented with limited conditions. Not all EU countries are part of EPO and not all EPO members are EU members. That being said, the EPO looks like a much saner organisation that USPTO.

Re:How is this relevant? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205610)

Theoretically issuing software patents is forbidden but the EPO will happily ignore that if you have deep enough pockets.

Re:How is this relevant? (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204452)

When you copyright your software, you copyright your specific implementation of the code. If someone comes along and writes software that performs the same function but without infringing on your copyright, you are facing competition.

SAS asserted that they were the subject of copyright violation, and attempted to shut down a competitor that created an independent implementation.

Why can't the US be so sensible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204124)

More and more, I find EU rulings to be oh-so-astute.

I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204212)

I can appreciate that software has an "ideal" form (that which performs the expected task with the least resources) and as such there is most definitely an argument to be made about not copyrighting it.

However, if an author can copyright a certain implementation of a thought, why can't a programmer? Aside from the simplicity of making up new natural language vs. programming languages I see a few too many parallels to believe that software can't be copyrighted (to say nothing of patents)

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204390)

The code they produce is copyrighted. Full stop. This isn't about the code that they write, it is about the high-level abstract function the code implements - like the idea of "drawing a box on a screen". That shouldn't be copyrightable because it is not a specific implementation of an idea, it is the idea itself. And it probably shouldn't be patentable either because software is a set of instructions to be run by an "actor" (typically a processor, but it could also theoretically be run by a human), which the United States Supreme Court has ruled previously are not patentable (we'll see what idiotic and idealistic justifications Scalia, Roberts, and Thomas come up with to defend their corporate bosses).

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204454)

High level ideas were never subject to copyright.

Therefore, if this *is* supposed to be about high level ideas, it's completely pointless and stupid

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205560)

Apparently the suit was exactly that - SAS claims a rival's software infringes on their copyright, despite being a copy of functionality but not actual implementation.

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205622)

"Therefore, if this *is* supposed to be about high level ideas, it's completely pointless and stupid"

Stupid? Sure. Pointless? Not at all.

This opinion needed to be expressed because somebody *got* the copyright and was capable enough as to sue somebody else to protect it.

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204572)

And it probably shouldn't be patentable either because software is a set of instructions to be run by an "actor" (typically a processor, but it could also theoretically be run by a human), which the United States Supreme Court has ruled previously are not patentable (we'll see what idiotic and idealistic justifications Scalia, Roberts, and Thomas come up with to defend their corporate bosses).

Software methods that could be run by a human (even if they'd take forever) are unpatentable, but ones that explicitly require the processor are patent eligible. The policy is that we don't want to create a thoughtcrime - you can get an injunction to stop a patent infringer from continuing to infringe, but if the claims are pure thought, then how do you get an injunction to stop someone from thinking? However, if the claims explicitly require a processor, then performing the software steps in your head is not infringement.

But they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204394)

A writer cannot copyright a certain implementation of a thought.

E.g. I just though "Mmmmm. Tasty". Now can I sue for copyright infringement for anyone who writes those two words down in their book?

No.

Re:But they can't (2)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204490)

I'll just assume that's a troll... no one is legitimately that stupid.

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204418)

She isn't saying that software can;t be copyrighted, she is saying that the idea behind the software, the language, the framework it's based on, or it's interactions can't be copyrighted, only the actual implementation of the software.

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204518)

Right, but none of that was *ever* copyrightable

a plot about a protagonist that has a special power and who's fate is intertwined with the antagonist until an eventual meeting and good prevails

if ideas fell under copyright every author would be completely fucked.

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205026)

Essentially, what we're facing is more akin to "Other authors can't write and publish books because we've patented/copyrighted the concept of letters and words."

Or a carpenter can't build because we've got a patent on wood.

Futhermore, there should be a restriction in regards to the use of programming languages. Should a JavaScript function be patentable/copyrightable? One might argue that JavaScript itself provided the inherent ability to implement. And that a million monkeys typing randomly could have typed that same occurrence.

Furthermore, most software implementations are inherent in thought because they're related to real world problems. If I have to sort a bunch of names. That's a real world problem. Perhaps I've come up with an more efficient sorting sequence. But sorting is not a new invention.

Patents should really be reserved for truely novel invention and innovation. Copyrights should be reserved for artistic works and plagiarism. Methods, on an individual level should not be protected. Copyrights should mostly serve to prevent one from copying another's code as a whole and simply re-implementing it.

It should not protect against the use of wheels and levers.

Re:I'm still on the fence about this stuff (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205600)

One might argue (...) that a million monkeys typing randomly could have typed that same occurrence.

Yes, but that wouldn't have the right colour [sooke.bc.ca] .

Yves Bot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204258)

Are we sure that Yves Bot isn't a Turing test contestant that escaped into the wild? He's displaying extra-human intelligence, it seems.

Re:Yves Bot (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205554)

He's probably Stephen Byerley, but his original name wasn't obvious enough.

understand the motivation (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204308)

This isn't some great outbreak of common sense in the EU, they are just looking down their noses at software. When it comes to other intellectual property (books, music, movies, etc.), the EU is more draconian than the US.

Re:understand the motivation (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205620)

This isn't an outbreak of nothing, because a court in the US would have the same decision. But how is the EU more draconian? Please don't confuse one or two countries with "the EU".

Software ideas can't be copyrighted....says Bot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204330)

I believe this is referred to as irony

What did they copy? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204354)

Seems sensible but I have to wonder what the software actually copied, and I'm too lazy to actually find out. I'm assuming the software did more than simply move a cursor and draw a box.

Company A and Company B (3, Interesting)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204358)

My opinion.

Company A should not be able to use Company B's sourcecode should they decompile it (or steal it).

However if Company B creates software that moves widgets around a screen depending on buttons you press on a keyboard. Or causes widgets to do tasks- they should not be able to prevent Company A mimicing their software.

Certainly, things like corporate logos should be protected- but what the software does functionally shoudln't.

If one company can independantly write source that acts the same as another company- they have derived it seperately and fairly.

I'm of the same feelings of patents too. If company A can make a machine to do the same as company B- they should be allowed.

They shouldn't be allowed to mould their parts on the other company and build their own machine that way- but if they can build an equivalent machine that does the same thing- that shouldn't be illegal.

Re:Company A and Company B (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204974)

My opinion.

Company A should not be able to use Company B's sourcecode should they decompile it (or steal it).

Your opinion stinks. Reverse engineering is protected by copyright law a long history of favorable court decisions. If you sell it to me, I should be able to take it apart and see how it works.

It's a trap! (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204396)

Whilst we are all saying well done, we are not looking. What are the trying to cover up elsewhere?
Tin foil on.

The EU continues to ooze common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204756)

EU bans claim water can prevent dehydration: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html

Important distinction for those who don't RTFA (5, Informative)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204832)

He's not saying that functions like

drawBox(args) {
    stuff...
}

are not copyrightable. He's saying that the function, aka the generic software method, of drawing a box is not copyrightable. Nobody copied the CODE, which would be a copyright violation. They reimplemented the idea. This is just the equivalent of saying that you can still write books about kid wizards even though JK Rowling already did it. You can have spells that petrify people (that's would be a function, right?), but if you go as far as lifting entire passages (copying the actual code that comprises the function), THEN you're talking about a copyright violation.

Not just monopolizing ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205126)

...
On that occasion, I discovered that we both had written the same 20-line assembly language program. ...

Reflections on Trusting Trust
Ken Thompson

See: http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html

Given the same problem it is quite possible that two people in two different space/time co-ordinates could arrive at the exact same solution without even being aware of others' works. This alone should be sufficient to abolish medieval copyrights and patents altogether, especially in Software.

This can't be right... (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205414)

I think the judges must have been replaced by aliens. That's the only sensible explanation!

Apparently (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205444)

the effects of the financial crisis are beginning to show in the decreased lobbying power of big corporations.

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