software law


Also found in: Wikipedia.

software law

(legal)
Software may, under various circumstances and in various countries, be restricted by patent or copyright or both. Most commercial software is sold under some kind of software license.

A patent normally covers the design of something with a function such as a machine or process. Copyright restricts the right to make and distribute copies of something written or recorded, such as a song or a book of recipies. Software has both these aspects - it embodies functional design in the algorithms and data structures it uses and it could also be considered as a recording which can be copied and "performed" (run).

"Look and feel" lawsuits attempt to monopolize well-known command languages; some have succeeded. Copyrights on command languages enforce gratuitous incompatibility, close opportunities for competition, and stifle incremental improvements.

Software patents are even more dangerous; they make every design decision in the development of a program carry a risk of a lawsuit, with draconian pretrial seizure. It is difficult and expensive to find out whether the techniques you consider using are patented; it is impossible to find out whether they will be patented in the future.

The proper use of copyright is to prevent software piracy - unauthorised duplication of software. This is completely different from copying the idea behind the program in the same way that photocopying a book differs from writing another book on the same subject.

Usenet newsgroup: news:misc.legal.computing.

["The Software Developer's and Marketer's Legal Companion", Gene K. Landy, 1993, AW, 0-201-62276-9].
References in periodicals archive ?
Finally, Section II.C explores the common law tradition of reasoning by analogy to illustrate its deleterious effects on software law.
influential documents in software law. (38) The GPL is by far the most
His account, however, is thoroughly factual and detailed, and is worthy reading for students and experts of software law and technology alike.
Chapters on software law cover trade secret protection, copyright, patent protection, trademarks and trade dress, and software licensing.
For instance, you changed your hardware [on which the software was installed] or you relocated the hardware to a different facility [in violation of the license agreement]," says Henry Jones III, a solo attorney who specializes in software law.
One reason Venezuela chose to host this event is that, in January 2006, their new free software law came into effect, which mandates that all government agencies migrate to free software over a two-year period.
A successful claim will almost certainly rely on the know-how, professionalism anddetermination of a two-person team - one an expert in software law and the other fully conversant in the legal technicalities of biotechnology.
Some investigators note that investigations into computer manipulation crimes comprise 90-percent detective work and 10-percent computer work.(4) This division between detective and computer work also is reflected in the two types of software law enforcement officers traditionally have used to solve these crimes - investigative and application software.
It is worth noting that the UCC is consistent with the recent attempt of the American Law Institute to state the principles of software law. (259) The ALI Principles of Software Contracting would provide for an indemnity of infringement, the equivalent of a warranty of noninfringement.
A successful claim will almost certainly rely on the know-how, professionalism and determination of a two-person team - one an expert in software law and the other fully conversant in the legal technicalities of biotechnology.
Failure to read the small print means the user has also agreed implicitly to be bound by the software laws of the Republic of Panama and any dispute ushall be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the rules of the Panamanian Arbitration Association'.

Full browser ?