Why the referral to the EC - this seems straightfoward?
Under the Software Directive copyright protection is given to "the expression in any form of a computer program" but does not apply to "ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces".
The "form" is the computer program World Programming has written or if it's done a "SAS" and made equivalently detailed manuals.
The "ideas and principles" obviously being what the functions do and their underlying mathematics.
So, using the above, the only source of ambiguity is from comparing World Programming's *source code* with SAS's *source code* OR WP manuals vs SAS manuals. Since both are highly likely to be closed-source outfits, the likelihood the code take identical forms is low unless its a case of industrial espionage (which is a different legal matter). Thus, are we arguing over manuals here?!
Either not enough information is provided or this is yet another example of a completely unnecessary deferral by a UK judge under UK law to the EC ... Sometimes I wonder: do UK judges get referral fees, don't like to work hard covering all angles and further implications of a case or don't like to sign away their reputation by making firm legal commitments or what? I mean what's the worst that can happen, it gets overturned at EU level but only after *everyone* has been forced to consider all your considered judicial arguments and your name to it first?
In short, domestic legal discovery being constantly awarded to supranational bodies is starting to get tiresome and somewhat scary.
If the like and more of the above is inevitable, then while I've always been a fan of the EU, even excluding the Eurozone mess, stuff like this removes one more nail in my support for the UK's continuing presence in this fairly one-sided arrangement ... After all, even outside the EU, most of our trade would still continue to be with the EU and therefore with EU trade standards but we would get to cherry pick exactly what laws made sense and which did not all without having to pay the substantial costs of EU institutions, parliamentary presence, and reduced legal+social sovereignty.
Apologies if I've offended anyone's IT sensibilities!