[Phpwm] (fwd) [SB] Court of appeals decision on software copyright

Phil Beynon phil at infolinkelectronics.co.uk
Thu Mar 22 04:31:40 GMT 2007

> <forwarded message from SB Lug>
> From: Stephen Booth <stephenbooth.uk at xxxxx.com> (nee Google's mail)
> To: Birmingham Linux User Group <sb at mailman.lug.org.uk>,
> Subject: [SB] Court of appeals decision on software copyright
> Thought this might interest some people on the list.  What it seems to
> boil down to is that, so long as you don't actually reuse someone's
> propietry code, it is not a breach of copyright to create software
> that performs the same functions and looks the same.
> As the last paragraph indicates this should kill off attempts to
> copyright underlying algorithms or the look and feel of packages.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------------------------------------
> Computer software copyright – new Court of Appeal decision
> The recent Court of Appeal judgment in Nova Productions v Mazooma
> Games & Ors (14 March 2007) will be of immense interest and potential
> concern to software developers and the owners of copyright in computer
> programs.  In its judgment, the Court of Appeal confirmed that:
>   1. it is not an infringement of copyright to make a computer
> program which emulates another program (including its look and feel)
> but which does not copy the other program's code or graphics;
>   2. ideas which underlie computer programs are not protected by 
> copyright; 
>   and
>   3. no additional copyright protection, over and above protection as
> individual graphic works, is given to a series of images displayed in
> a computer program.
> The judgment was handed down by three Court of Appeal judges, with the
> main judgment being given by Jacob LJ.  The appeal was brought against
> a first instance decision of the High Court which had decided that
> copyright in an arcade game, based on the game of pool, was not
> infringed by two competing arcade games, also based on the game of
> pool.  Although the two allegedly infringing games were "inspired by"
> the first game, and incorporated some (but not many) similar elements,
> both the High Court and the Court of Appeal held that there was no
> copyright infringement.
> The Court of Appeal also tacitly approved the High Court decision in
> Navitaire v easyJet (2004), which reached the same conclusions in
> relation to software copyright.  At the time it was made, the
> Navitaire judgment was considered to signal a death knell for any
> arguments that copyright could subsist in ideas underlying computer
> software or in the overall look and feel of software.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------------------------
> -- 
> David Goodwin 
> [ david at codepoets dot co dot uk ]
> [ http://www.codepoets.co.uk       ]

Interesting - I wonder where that leaves the one click shopping basket which Amazon have been defending vigourously for a few years. Out in the cold hopefully!


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