Suppose I see an innovative piece of (commercial) software that delivers considerable, non-trivial functionality.
Can I re-implement it? Suppose I study it carefully, work out what it does and how it does it, and then write my own software to do the same thing. I haven't (knowingly) copied any specific part of that system, but I have replicated the system as a whole ...its design. So have I infringed the copyright of the original system?
Consider the possibility of translating a Harry Potter novel into French. If I change the names, I could produce a text that didn't contain a single word of Rowling's original. But I believe that doing so would infring Rowling's copyright. What is the situation with software?