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I'm not a US citizen or a lawyer but is the separation of implementation and exploration really required by the copyright laws (ignoring patent issues)?

I can understand that exploration/implementation division as a preemptive "don't sue us" move, but do US copyright really provide that such strong protection that someone who has looked at a decompilation can't be writing an independent implementation? It seems to me the writing an implementation with a different structure or in another language ought to be different enough for copyright reasons.

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