Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Court Rules APIs, Programming Languages Not Copyrightable

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the free-code dept.

EU 215

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.'"

cancel ×

215 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Yeah! (5, Interesting)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874581)

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...

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874663)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874873)

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?

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874929)

IANAL, but if I understand correctly, reverse engineering said PSD format would be legal under the DMCA's interoperability clause.

This is assuming that 'bug' hasn't been patched yet.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874955)

I'm not sure what the DMCA would have to do with it as PSD isn't access control software protecting a third parties copyrighted work.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874933)

Don't get your hopes too high. They didn't rule it non-patentable. FTS:

is entitled, as a rule, to observe, study or test its functioning

notice how they don't say "replicate its functionality"? So, reverse engineering is ruled legal but usage of the knowledge gained is not free (pun intended).

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875413)

"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."

Yes and they have also the right to use a working health insurance and pension plan.
OTOH, if one more phone company sues another one in Germany, nobody will be able to use a phone anymore.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875629)

Hartz IV is far from functional.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874755)

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).

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874819)

I'm pretty sure he's saying that the "right" to compatibility, or to have data interchange has always been protected.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875229)

'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.'"

Google is not a purchaser of a license for JME, so this ruling is irrelevant to the jury for that case, sorry.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (3, Informative)

ppanon (16583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875709)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874869)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874885)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875757)

What if the license expressly prohibits disassembly, running code inspection and reverse engineering? The court says these activities aren't prohibited by copyright alone, but can they otherwise be expressly prohibited in a license?

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874975)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (5, Informative)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#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".

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875163)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874859)

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.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875365)

+1 I don't know of round corners being protected, but that's just stupid if they are. peroid.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (3, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875435)

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?

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875065)

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.

Does this mean video and audio codecs are also not copyrightable? They're also just complex stream of bits, afterall, and has no particular source code attached to them.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875179)

Does this mean video and audio codecs are also not copyrightable? They're also just complex stream of bits, afterall, and has no particular source code attached to them.

Interesting question. Aren't some of these things covered by Patents rather than copyrights?
AAC mentions patents [vialicensing.com] in their license Faq.

Re:It's now a free for all for all file fomats! Ye (1)

timlyg (266415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875483)

Next time, when such copyright proposal failed, let's print out in CAPS the main name of the submitter, so we can all laugh at him/her.

Let's design a programming language... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874453)

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

I'm lost here ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874617)

stairwaytoheaven {
deathstar:
schindler's list ++
jaws = 007:Snowwhiteif Shrek:

....

I'm lost...

Oh you're so clever... (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874637)

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.

Re:Let's design a programming language... (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874999)

While you were sleeping{
Switch(XXX)
Cold Case:
Get Rich or Die Trying:
Breaking bad;
)
}

Re:Let's design a programming language... (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875099)

Error C2143: Syntax Error: Expecting something decent after '{'.

Re:Let's design a programming language... (3)

captain_sweatpants (1997280) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875723)

I can't speak about the other two, but Breaking bad is one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

Re:Let's design a programming language... (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875025)

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:Let's design a programming language... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875133)

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.

Doesn't that make this ruling meaningless? The makers of a programming language could use individual elements which were copyrighted by them, thus making the language effectively copyrightable due to these elements.

Re:Let's design a programming language... (2)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875681)

You need to meet a minimum bar of creativity to qualify for copyright. For each keyword. Furthermore, something that's purely functional won't cut it either. So, the keywords in the language would have each be about sentence length, at a minimum (and that's pushing it), and not exactly describe what they do. At which point, yes, you might be able to copyright those "words", but you still wouldn't be able to copyright the language, and you'd have a language that nobody would want to use, let alone copy. Yay you. :)

Re:Let's design a programming language... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875045)

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.

Re:Let's design a programming language... (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875149)

...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)

They are not copyrightable (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874457)

just patentable in Germany!

Software patents illegal in UE (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875227)

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.

Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (5, Insightful)

Jahava (946858) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (2)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874627)

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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874677)

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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (4, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874901)

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

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875445)

We are proud to be on the watchlist together with our Canadian friends.
Frack the US.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874725)

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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875611)

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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (1, Insightful)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875041)

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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875171)

Except the part where they didn't call it Java.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875249)

... And the part that there is no source code either unlike J++

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (3, Insightful)

Forever Wondering (2506940) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (4, Informative)

rossz (67331) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875425)

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.

Re:Strangely Relevant to Oracle vs. Google? (3, Informative)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Read the decision (5, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874507)

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 (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874513)

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

Re:Read the decision (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874665)

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 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874739)

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 likely to lose the copyright suit even in California.

Re:9 lines were copied (1)

spacepimp (664856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874835)

timsort was a direct port from python if it matters.

Re:Read the decision (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874769)

Yeah. Nine whole lines out of 13 million.

Re:Read the decision (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874817)

The EU decision allowed for study of SAS documentation. No pure clean-room reverse engineering needed.

Re:Read the decision (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874867)

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!"

Re:Read the decision (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875307)

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 they produced their work from an independent spec. to avoid accusations of copying that documentation.

What?! (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874511)

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!?

Re:What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874577)

Neither of the institutes involved in the EU case bother to run PR campaigns to ensure widespread coverage of events in the case that make them look better than the other guy.

Re:What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874595)

Because there are 2 sets of laws.

One is "Amurika Fuck Yeah!"
One is "Communists Liberal Europe"

Just because EU says something does not mean US court will not say exactly the opposite.

Re:What?! (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875309)

Because there are 2 sets of laws.

One is "Amurika Fuck Yeah!"
One is "Communists Liberal Europe"

Just because EU says something does not mean US court will not say exactly the opposite.

Exactly. Sometimes one does the right thing; sometimes the other does the right thing; sometimes both do the wrong thing.

I wish we could pick and choose only the good stuff from each.

Re:What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874631)

Because when it comes to all things IP the US will just force everyone else to do whatever it is that the US wants, "sovereign nations" be dammed. EU courts have no practical jurisdiction so why care?

Re:What?! (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875329)

Because when it comes to all things IP the US will just force everyone else to do whatever it is that the US wants, "sovereign nations" be dammed. EU courts have no practical jurisdiction so why care?

Not so much force. More coerce. Coerce is much worse; much more insidious. Force doesn't work so well any more because US power is rapidly waning.

Re:What?! (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874645)

what judgment i don't think one has been issued yet.

What abou encoding a song, picture, video or text (1)

mijxyphoid (1872142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874533)

I understand the spirit of the law, I.E. someone that has worked out an XML or database schema, and uses that same schema would not be accountable for copyright infringement.

If a program used another programs data for its own use, then that program / program user would not be infringing on copyright either...
But if a copyrightable item is encoded in to a format that in no way resembles the copyrighted works (I.E. encoded in some bizarre, lossy, crappy method)
that no other software supports, and the decoding method is not published or known, could that data in theory be except from copyright in the sense that it is just data, and no longer resembles the copyrighted works ???

(I know this will not be the case, but its just a thought)....

Re:What abou encoding a song, picture, video or te (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875261)

The file format not being copyrightable has nothing to do with the data/content itself being copyrightable. You could make tools that work with that unknown weird format to your heart's content, but still cannot freely copy the data that happened to be *extractable* in that container.

If all you made was some "artistic hash" of the movie file that was no longer usable as the movie itself, that might be a factual observation about it or something, or could be a derivative work.

Interesting. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874575)

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

Re:Interesting. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874711)

0

Admittedly it's not a very long stream, but go ahead.

Re:Interesting. (3, Funny)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874767)

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

0

Admittedly it's not a very long stream, but go ahead.

Ok... here goes:

!1

Whew.. that was rough.

Re:Interesting. (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874731)

I'm guessing that Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem [wikipedia.org] begs to differ. :) Especially for infinite streams.

Re:Interesting. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874893)

OK I can convert any finite stream of bits into an API.

Not surprising (1)

NoGenius (976447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874611)

Given that the EU forced Microsoft to document their exchange protocols a couple years ago. In essence, they've already said that duplicating a protocol (i.e. a network API) is also not a copyright violation.

This is good stuff...

Now if we could just eliminate software patents....

This is no news ... (5, Informative)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874629)

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.

Re:This is no news ... (2)

s2jcpete (989386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874771)

Laws are open to interpretation which lead to precedents which found the basis for future interpretations. Which half did you belong to?

Re:This is no news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874927)

precedences are for US.
The rest of the world dont care about precedences...

Re:This is no news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875451)

for the US, and Canada, the EU, ...

Re:This is no news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875389)

Precedents are nonbinding in Civil law systems.

Re:This is no news ... (2)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875005)

Where is this "explicitly stated?"

So this means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874643)

... I have to move to Europe if I still want to be a software engineer?

Which is the best country in the EU? Any opinions?

Re:So this means... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874997)

What do you mean by "best?" Dark beautiful and hot women? Spain, Italy, Rumania. Low unemployment? Germany. Boring familiarity? Great Britain.

Re:So this means... (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875081)

The eurozone is struggling a bit at the moment. So your dreams of prosperity may be offset by high unemployment.

Several (non-IT) Germans I met fled the EU to live in Switzerland for higher wages and better job security. The extent to which they share IP laws, I dunno.

Re:So this means... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875643)

In theory:
Software - UK - English culture at a "lower" price to sell back into software addicted US market.
Selling to South America, Africa, Asia - try the old colonial powers?
In reality:
Some "new" Europe second class University town sweatshop to write the backend.
Some "new" Europe top grade University town sweatshop to write the gui/book/website/marketing.
Why spend cash on top grade academics to help polish your product?
Less errors in translation, they can get the look of any export marketing product right - the photo with people standing, sitting, male, female, young, older, who is seen as in charge, the slogan, the logo- saves on "misunderstandings" later.
Make sure the cost of setting up your software factory is low, done fast, legal and you can remove staff in the "US" style...
Factor in hardware and software costs, strange audits, expensive legal/privacy needs even for small start ups, environmental regs.

+1 for being allowed to understand things (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874749)

The argument is hard to make to laymen, however, how things like this and DRM only criminalize understanding things.   Which is bad.

And the funny part is... (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874863)

99 percent of the people in the world, who barely know how to use a computer anyways (Or will ever even have read about it) , is going to say something like; "What does this have to do with me?" Won't change anything for the downline. On a more particular note, does this mean for all those dark years of microsoft products I can now get back my money and time wasted?

Re:And the funny part is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875161)

On a more particular note, does this mean for all those dark years of microsoft products I can now get back my money and time wasted?

Of course. The time machine will be leaving for the dark ages last Friday 1200 sharp. Don't be late, and bring your Windows receipt.

Yow! (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874983)

Them's fightin' words!

tro*llkore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875031)

may distUrb other

Oracle/Google? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875053)

I wonder if this will have any effect on the Oracle/Google suit considering international copyright treaties.

Does this really invalidate parts of the DMCA? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875071)

>> >> '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 seems you'd have to be if you legally purchase the DRM-protected content.

Re:Does this really invalidate parts of the DMCA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875355)

Not strictly, you don't purchase a license to the DRM when you purchase a license for DRM'ed content. As one would expect, by purchasing a license to DRM-protected content, you have in fact, purchased a license for the DRM-protected content, confusing I know.

Re:Does this really invalidate parts of the DMCA? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875765)

DMCA is an American law. Why would a court decision in EU affect it?

The EU is so right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875317)

No we need to kill the idea of intellectual property and software patents and we're getting somewhere.

This is why standards orgs use open patents (1)

protocolture (2460898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875519)

It is very difficult to have a standard if no one can use it, and if it is to be taught in an educational institution it should be a standard. That is why a "big evil" company like Microsoft would sign something like the osp. They want their code to become a standard, and by retaining control of just the platform specific binaries and visual studio they keep control of their favorite platform while allowing small projects like mono to exist. A similar approach would work well for java, as I am sure android has created thousands of new awesome java developers which can only be good for the platform. Instead they scare away the developers by threatening the while android platform with a lawsuit.

Important unanswered question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875617)

Is it legal for a software license to prohibit code inspection and reverse engineering? Under the recent ruling, users might be allowed to inspect and reverse engineer "as a rule" in the case that the license says nothing about it, but what if the license explicitly prohibits these activities?

SAS is running scared (4, Insightful)

Thatmushroom (447396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875661)

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.

Re:SAS is running scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875705)

Is it wrong to see "SAS" and wonder what Serial Attached SCSI has to do with anything?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?