Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jot: Software Emulation Lawsuit Protects Code, Not Functionality

EasyJet wins copyright infringement lawsuit over software emulation after a claim that
EasyJet had adopted the "look and feel" and overall functionality of the Navitaire software; that it had copied individual keyboard commands entered by the user to achieve particular results; and alleged that certain forms of results in the form of screen displays and reports, including icon designs, had been copied so that the user interface looked the same.
Source code is protected, not software's functionality.


Anonymous Branko Collin said...

I disagree: code is not protected by copyright, interests are. If anything, code is destroyed by copyright.

I run a website about ancient computer games, but unfortunately cannot offer them to my visitors, because of copyright. If it weren't for copyright, these games would be able to survive, either as code, or as derivatives, or fresh in the minds of people.

I have managed to convince a few authors to (re)release their games (mostly as freeware), but that code is now slightly safer despite of copyright, not because of it.

By saying that code is protected you are adopting the language of copyright extremists.

27/4/05 22:56  
Blogger Rik Lambers said...

Actually, I'm not adopting anyting here. Neither side of the "copyright extremism": closing down code with copyright, or opening it up for all through free licensing.
That last line was merely me summing up the conclusion of the news article. Sorry if that wasn't clear. I'll try harder to seperate (my) opinions & facts & one extremism from the other.

28/4/05 11:09  
Anonymous mark said...

Interesting. I wonder how this relates to the Dutch case of the 'referendumwijzer' ('pollpointer'). The official one succesfully invoked a copyrightclaim on the basis of the look and feel of the online poll.

@branko: aren't you talking more about the problem of orphan works (that should enter earlier in the public domain)?

28/4/05 11:39  
Anonymous Branko Collin said...

@Mark: "Aren't you talking more about the problem of orphan works (that should enter earlier in the public domain)?"

No. My site was just one example of how copyright does the exact opposite of protecting a work.

Other examples are for instance that I cannot cut up popular songs to make a collage (hiphop). (Well, I can, but in some jurisdictions you'll risk paying hefty fines.)

The unfortunate thing about modern copyright, copyright being a form of extremism by itself already, is that it instills in authors a sense of ownership that doesn't exist. Authors see their works as babies that must be "protected" from alterations or even access.

Of course the opposite is true. Unlike the integrity of real babies, the integrity of works is boosted by dissemination.

As an author, I cringe too when I see bad derivatives ("seeing your art used by neo-nazis," as one artist expressed it recently). I remember that horrible "house" knock-off of Orff's Carmina Burana, and how relieved I was that a judge banned the house version.

And of course, that is the curse of the public domain; that every classic generates ten bad derivatives for each good derivative. But should we ban the ten bad versions if that means banning the good one too?

Sorry for the late reply BTW, I had a busy week.

8/5/05 00:41  

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