European software developers may be smirking today. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled yesterday that functions performed by computer programs are not entitled to copyright protection.
The case, SAS Institute Inc. v. World Programming Ltd., centered on U.S. software company SAS Institute, which had developed an integrated set of programs that enabled users to carry out data processing and analysis tasks. SAS claimed that rival British company World Programming (WPL) infringed its copyrights. SAS said WPL saw a market demand for alternative software capable of executing application programs written in SAS’s language, and produced its own World Programming System (WPS).