Copyright, Computer Software and the New Protectionism

Jurimetrics, Vol. 28, No. 33, 1987

64 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009

See all articles by Dennis S. Karjala

Dennis S. Karjala

Arizona State University College of Law

Date Written: 1987


This article begins by exploring the nature of software as an area of technology similar to others except for the ease of its copying and distribution. Next, the traditional copyright protection available for technology is reviewed. Such traditional protection is either nonexistent or severely limited in scope, for fundamental reasons of social policy. The policy justification for affording software an increased level of protection over traditional technologies is piracy prevention, and increased software protection should be no greater than necessary to satisfy the policy goal.

The article then analyzes the software cases and commentary in light of the antipiracy policy goal. The trend in the cases and much of the commentary is to protect software well beyond the level necessary to satisfy that goal, without offering a policy basis for extending protection so far. The nature of software requires that statutory interpretation and judicial citation be effected with careful reference to policy goals, as superficial application of traditional copyright analysis leads to results conflicting with optimal social policy.

Keywords: Copyright, Software, Antipiracy

Suggested Citation

Karjala, Dennis S., Copyright, Computer Software and the New Protectionism (1987). Jurimetrics, Vol. 28, No. 33, 1987. Available at SSRN:

Dennis S. Karjala (Contact Author)

Arizona State University College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-4010 (Phone)
480-965-2427 (Fax)


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics