Software Innovation At Stake in SAS Suit - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Healthcare // Analytics
Commentary
8/4/2010
02:08 PM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Software Innovation At Stake in SAS Suit

Does World Programming's SAS clone infringe on copyrights? Pending court ruling could put tech investment in jeopardy.

From SAS's perspective, an ECJ ruling in favor of WPL will mean that no software is safe. "If you can study somebody's software and their manuals in detail, smart programmers can figure out how everything works without having to put forth the intellectual effort or invest in the thousands of man-years it might take to develop that software from scratch," SAS General Counsel John Boswell told me last week.

Unfortunately, justice will not be swift. The one thing Carter-Silk and Boswell agreed upon is that it may be two to three years before the ECJ takes up the case. That's typical in U.S. and European courts, sad to say.

The only good news is that Justice Arnold of the London High Court clearly saw that this case would surely be appealed and sent to a higher court. Rather than subject both parties to the delay of going through the British equivalent of our Supreme Court, he sent the case directly to the ECJ, which is the highest authority on such matters.

It appears this is the first case that will force a detailed interpretation of Article 5(3). Let's hope the case is reviewed sooner rather than later and that the court finds in favor of protecting intellectual property.

Make no mistake. This is not a defense of high-priced software. SAS does not have a monopoly on analytics. You have a choice. There are lower-cost alternatives to SAS software, like open-source R, that also happen to be original.

In my opinion, an ECJ ruling in favor of WPL would mean that you don't need R&D and blood, sweat and tears to start a software company. You would just need creative coders who can artfully copy what others create.

If that's the law of the land, then what motivation is left for software innovation?

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll