Timothy B. McCormack, attorney at law, writes about: An Full Overview About Software Copyrights

by Timothy McCormack
Contact

Timothy B. McCormack, attorney at law, writes about: THE TASK OF COMPUTER PROGRAMMING AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

In a practical sense, understanding how copyright law affects software development requires an understanding of how lawyers, judges, and juries understand the task of computer programming. These groups ultimately determine whether a particular copyright lawsuit has merit and, if so, what the liability or money damages will be.

For example, in an older (but instructive) case one court described the task of creating a computer program in the following manner:

The creation of a computer program often takes place in several steps, moving from the general to the specific.

Because programs are intended to accomplish particular tasks, the first step in creating the program is identifying the problem that the computer programmer is trying to solve . . . . As the programmer learns more about the problem, she or he may begin to outline a solution. The outline can take the form of a flowchart, which breaks down the solution into a series of smaller units called “subroutines” or “modules,” each of which deals with elements of the larger problem . . . .

As the program structure is refined, the programmer must make decisions about what data is needed, where along the program’s operations the data should be introduced, how the data should be inputted, and how it should be combined with other data . . . . Once again, there are numerous ways in which the programmer can solve the data-organization problems that she or he faces. Each solution may have particular characteristics efficiencies or inefficiencies, conveniences or quirks that differentiate it from other solutions and make the overall program more or less desirable . . . .

Once the detailed designs of the program are completed, the coding begins. Each of the steps identified in the design must be turned into a language that the computer can understand. This translation process in itself requires two steps. The programmer first writes in a “source code,” which may be in one of several languages . . . . The choice of language depends upon which computers the programmer intends the program to be used by, for some computers can read only certain languages. Once the program is written in source code, it is translated into “object code,” which is a binary code, simply a concatenation of “0”s and “1”s. In every program, it is the object code, not the source code, that directs the computer to perform functions. The object code is therefore the final instruction to the computer.”

Generally speaking, “programs written outside the software engineering environment tend to be small and tend to contain few inventive elements. As such, protection against verbatim copying [is] probably all the programmer [can] hope for. As software systems become more complex and come to contain more creative algorithms, the engineering phase becomes essential. As that happens, it becomes necessary to provide the software developer a means to protect those high-level, inventive elements which have nothing to do with their eventual literal expression in computer code.” While patents are often used to protect such inventive elements, the law of copyright also helps in offering protection.

Provided by McCormack Intellectual Property PS and written by Timothy B. McCormack, attorney at law and intellectual property lawyer.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Timothy McCormack, McCormack Intellectual Property PS | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Timothy McCormack
Contact
more
less

McCormack Intellectual Property PS on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.