|Who owns computer languages? firstname.lastname@example.org (Todd Evans) (1997-11-07)|
|Re: Who owns computer languages? email@example.com.OZ.AU (1997-11-09)|
|Re: Who owns computer languages? firstname.lastname@example.org (1997-11-09)|
|Re: Who owns computer languages? email@example.com (Gregory Bond) (1997-11-11)|
|Re: Who owns computer languages? firstname.lastname@example.org (1997-11-11)|
|Re: Who owns computer languages? email@example.com (1997-11-29)|
|Re: Who owns computer languages? firstname.lastname@example.org.OZ.AU (Fergus Henderson) (1998-01-18)|
|From:||Fergus Henderson <email@example.com.OZ.AU>|
|Date:||18 Jan 1998 10:14:46 -0500|
|Organization:||Comp Sci, University of Melbourne|
Last November, Todd Evans <firstname.lastname@example.org> asked about copyright
on computer languages, and in response to a case mentioned by George
C. Lindauer <email@example.com>, our moderator replied:
> [Too bad it never went to court. He'd have lost and it would be a useful
> precedent. -John]
A relevant case recently went to court in Australia. Powerflex
Services used a process of reverse engineering to create a product
called "Powerflex" that was highly compatible with Data Access's
product "Dataflex". The two systems had the same (or similar)
commands, file system structure, file formats, and error messages, and
used the same function keys.
The plaintiffs did win a partial victory on one point -- copyright of
the Huffman table used for compression of data files. However, on the
issue of copyright for the language itself, they lost, just as our
moderator said they would.
I found a summary of the case at <http://www.aar.com.au/public/ndxfeedb.htm>.
You can read the judgement handed down for the case, "Powerflex Services
Pty Ltd v Data Access Corporation  490 FCA", at the URL
The judgement includes references to several relevant American cases,
including the Lotus vs Borland macro case.
Fergus Henderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
PGP: finger email@example.com
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