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EU The Courts Your Rights Online

EU Court Adviser Says Software Ideas Can't Be Copyrighted 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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EU Court Adviser Says Software Ideas Can't Be Copyrighted

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  • Finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pnewhook ( 788591 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @01:23PM (#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! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dingen ( 958134 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @01:25PM (#38204018)
    So drawing a box or moving a cursor *on a PC* should be applicable to copyright?
  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @01:52PM (#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.

  • by Aryden ( 1872756 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @02:04PM (#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?
  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @02:19PM (#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:Don't worry Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alendit ( 1454311 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @03:14PM (#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:How Much (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @03:59PM (#38206048) Journal

    How much money will US corporations throw at the EU cheeseheads to decide in their favor?

    Friend, the corporations we have to worry about are not the "US corporations" or the "British corporations" or the "French corporations".

    The ones that are destroying our societies on both sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific) are the transnational corporations who strive for a position of power above mere nations.

    It's not yet too late to put these out-of-control entities back in their place, but it will take a long hard fight. The good news is that the fight has begun, apparently all around the world.

  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @04:38PM (#38206558)

    No it doesn't. You are comparing two different systems and claiming that they are the same; one system where software can be patented, and another where hardware can be patented, but the hardware can contain firmware. Those are two different things. In the E.U. you can't patent pure software, or to use your terminology "software not tied to a machine". This is not the same as the U.S. - in the U.S. software is patentable. You don't have to put it inside a machine and patent that - you can literally patent pure software. Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure [] says:

    "Europe already has uniform rules about what is patentable and what not. They are laid down in the European Patent Convention of 1973. In Article 52, the Convention states that mathematical methods, intellectual methods, business methods, computer programs, presentation of information etc are not inventions in the sense of patent law."

    Bolded for emphasis. That is not the same as the U.S. system. The EPO did grant some software patents in anticipation of new legislation, but introduction of the legislation failed:

    "The EPO has meanwhile granted more than 30,000 pure software patents in anticipation of the new legislation, and the number has recently been rising at a rate of 3,000 per year... the European Patent Organisation, i.e. the intergovernmental organisation that runs the European Patent Office, attempted to delete all the exclusions listed under Art 52 of the European Patent Convention. Due to public resistance which they apparently did not anticipate, this effort failed."

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.