EU: Programming language can't be copyrighted

Would be like 'monopolising ideas'

The EU Court of Justice's advocate general, Yves Bot, has said that to allow programming language to be copyrighted would only lead to monopolies in the IT industry.

Bot offered his recommendations for the case of SAS Institute which is suing World Programing Ltd for infringing its copyrights by copying its programmes.

"The functionalities of a computer program and the programming language cannot be protected by copyright," said Bot.

"If it were accepted that a functionality of a computer program can be protected as such, that would amount to making it possible to monopolise ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development."


But Bot argued that the ways in which elements of the programming language are used can be protected, in the same way that a writer putting specific words into a certain order can claim intellectual property over them.

"The way in which formulae and algorithms are arranged - like the style in which the computer program is written - will be likely to reflect the authors own intellectual creation and therefore be eligible for protection," he said.

Although the opinions expressed by Bot aren't legally binding, his thoughts converge with those of the England and Wales court which went to the European Court of Justice for advice on the SAS Institute case in the first place.

Via PhysOrg


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