050_EETE

EETE SEPTEMBER 2012

LAST WORD André rousselot Keeping open sourceublisher P +32 27400053 software free andre.rousselot@eetimes.be editor-in-Chief Julien happich +33 153907865 By Romain Berrendonner julien.happich@eetimes.be editors ThE MAy 2Nd 2012 ruling by the Eu- procurement departments to those nick flaherty ropean Court of Justice (EUCJ) clearly vendors. Software is an area of endeav- +44 7710236368 excluded software functionality from the our where progress is incremental and nick.flaherty@eetimes.be protection granted by the 1991 direc- innovation comes from a combination Christoph hammerschmidt tive on the legal protection of computer of existing ideas. If functionality was +49 8944450209 programs. The Court also proceeded to protected in this way, the very notion of chammerschmidt@gmx.net affirm the right of the licensee to study progress would be cut short. ContributinG editors the behaviour of licensed software. Thankfully, these concerns were Paul buckley This all started with software editor shared by the Court’s Advocate General. +44 1962866460 SAS institute Inc. su- he stated: “To accept paul@activewords.co.uk ing its competitor, World that a functionality of a Jean-Pierre Joosting Programming limited computer program can +44 7800548133 (WPL), for implementing be protected as such jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be a solution emulating the would amount to making behaviour of its software, it possible to monopolise CirCulAtion & finAnCe and using the same ideas, to the detriment of luc desimpel programming language, technological progress luc.desimpel@eetimes.be on the grounds that WPL and industrial develop- AdvertisinG ProduCtion & indirectly copied SAS ment”. Regarding the rePrints software by replicating protection of program- lydia Gijsegom its functionality. hence, ming languages, he lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be it was alleged that WPL concluded that languages Art MAnAGer infringement. The Court “It should be possible permits expression to beare “the means whichhad committed copyright Jean-Paul speliers asked the EUCJ, acting as for a lawful licensee given, not the expres- ricardo Pinto ferreira law, to rule on whether it to study a program to should be excluded fromGsion itself” and that theythe interpreter of EuropeanountinCC A reGionAl AdvertisinG ment to replicate the determine the ideas and the freedom to study theprotection. Regarding-was a copyright infringe rePresentAtives features of the software, principles it embodies” program, the Court ruled Contact information at: or to create a program that the lawful licensee http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ able to interpret and execute the same “is entitled, without the authorisation of about/sales-contacts.html programming language, or to use the the owner of the copyright, to observe, same data files as such software. The study or test the functioning of that Court was also asked whether the program so as to determine the ideas lawful licensee of a computer program and principles which underlie any ele- european had the freedom to study and test it, to ment of the program”, provided that no business press determine the ideas and principle which exclusive right of the copyright holder EuropEan BusinEss prEss sa underlies any element thereof. is infringed. The fact that the license 7 Avenue Reine Astrid The issues at stake in this debate are prohibits this kind of act is not an issue: 1310 La Hulpe huge for the software industry. Users of article 9 of the 1991 directive makes null Tel: +32 (0)2 740 00 50 open source software, as well as propri- and void any contractual provisions to Fax: +32 (0)2 740 00 59 etary ‘underdog’ competitors, frequently the contrary. www.electronics-eetimes.com need to be able to read and write data As promoters of Free Software, we VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437 files in formats initially designed by mo- should celebrate the Court’s decision RPM: Brussels nopolistic vendors for their proprietary to affirm a legislation that implements Company Number: 0461357437 applications. Preventing them to do so an important part of Freedom #1 of the © 2012 e.b.P. sA would irremediably harm interoperability Free Software Definition. We should also and cause a major blow to free competi- be prepared that this decision could ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2012 by European Business Press SA, 144 tion on the European market, locking in backfire at some point, with proprietary Avenue Plasky, 1030 Bruxelles, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 consumers and both public and private vendors further lobbying in favour of the email: info@eetimes.be. VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. RPM: Brussels. Volume 14, Issue 09 EE Times P 304128 patentability of software, in an attempt It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics- Romain Berrendonner is Legal Counsel to work around the lack of protection of eetimes.com/subscribe for Europe at AdaCore - functionality under copyright law. Copyright 2012 by European Business Press SA. All rights reserved. P 304128 www.adacore.com 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE SEPTEMBER 2012
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