Recent United States and International Developments in Software Protection: Part I
European Intellectual Property Review, Vol. 16, p. 13, 1994
8 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2009
Date Written: 1994
This article, the first part of a two-part series, establishes and reviews the policy basis for the radical departure from traditional intellectual property norms effected by the application of copyright law to the protection of technology in the form of computer programs. Computer programs are vulnerable to direct, blind, fast, and almost costless electronic copying. Because copyright protects against copying, it seems a natural legal response to this type of technological piracy, notwithstanding copyright’s traditional reluctance to protect functional works. If the scope of copyright protection in programs is limited to literal code and mechanical or electronic translations, this protection of technology through copyright would appear to raise few problems. Courts in the United states, however, have largely failed to recognize the unique nature of programs as objects of copyright protection and through inappropriate analogy to novels and plays have expanded the scope of copyright protection in programs to so-called 'structure, sequence, and organization' or 'SSO' and to functional elements of the user interface.
Keywords: Copyright, United States Copyright Law, Computer Programs
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