Still, I suspect the 12% figure they report is inaccurate.
Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., 36 F. Supp. 2d 191 (S.D.N.Y. 1999), was a decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, which ruled that exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright because the copies lack originality. Even if accurate reproductions require a great deal of skill, experience and effort, the key element for copyrightability under U.S. law is that copyrighted material must show sufficient originality.
Actually, R is a real (Turing-complete) programming language like Perl, Python, Ruby, etc. It just happens to have lots of statistical libraries and matrix-oriented functions.
You put #!/usr/bin/Rscript in your first line and it can work just like any other scripting language, with command-line arguments, etc. I use it all the time as a replacement for other scripting languages (think PDL+Perl or Numpy+Python).
R is an excellent language for any scientist. The sytax and semantics of the language are very well thought-out.