I think my opinion definitely has its supporters. Obviously, the Oracle case against SAP proves that there are big money judgments in software copyright cases. Flushed with its success in the SAP case, Oracle also filed a copyright infringement suit against Google over the Android operating system. That case is ongoing.
- World Programming did not copy any of SAS's source code, and
- World Programming did copy the unique features of SAS's software.
SAS filed two essentially identical cases, one in the U.K. and one here in the U.S. The case here in the U.S. was dismissed because, the district court decided, the U.K. case should take care of the entire dispute. SAS basically lost the case in the U.K. because, the English High Court decided, copyright protection wasn't the right mechanism to protect software. Although on its face that sounds bad for my theory, the reality is that the English High Court did accept that copyright protection is not limited to the source code. In addition, the case is on appeal to the EU Court of Justice, who are being faced with precisely the question whether copyright protection should be applied to the unique features of software.
While some argue it should not be, I disagree with that view. To those who argue that applying copyright law more forcefully to software would "stagnate" the industry, I say nonsense. If software developers are are allowed to just copy someone else's successful product rather than develop their own distinctive software, then who is developing the distinctive software? If they are all copying the same features, then that is the definition of stagnation. I say, to the creative go the spoils of their creations. If all you can do is copy someone else's work, then you should have to pay them their tribute.