Sally Weston “Promoting interoperability”


This paper evaluates the existing legal regime that regulates the disclosure of software interface information for the purposes of interoperability, and suggests an amendment to the EU Software Directive to allow for the dissemination of interface information obtained by reverse engineering. The recommendation is based on the concept that software interfaces require different considerations and treatment to other subject matter in a computer program.  This is because, not only do software interfaces directly affect interoperability, but also because of their indirect effects as standards. Whereas the concept that software interfaces require different treatment has been recognised in previous research and in copyright case law, the paper develops this concept beyond copyright to demonstrate that the law applied to patents and standards also justifies and supports the unique treatment of software interfaces. The argument is further supported by a case study on 3D CAD industry, which is a sector that suffers from a lack of interoperability.