ERIC Number: ED342389
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Mar-26
Reference Count: N/A
Computer Software and Copyright Law. CRS Report for Congress.
Weimer, Douglas Reid
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of copyright law as it relates to computer software. The computer industry terminology, case law, and software protection by patents and trade secret legislation are examined, and it is argued that the protection of ownership rights of computer software poses major challenges to existing U.S. copyright law--and to proposals to amend existing laws--due to the rapid development of sophisticated computer technology. Software case law is characterized as an evolving area that must be concerned with subtle distinctions and characterizations of elements of computer software. Two possible courses of legislative action are discussed. The first would allow the current state of copyright law to continue without significant amendment, thereby allowing the general body of copyright law to govern software issues. It is noted that with this approach, courts would use existing law to craft appropriate methods to resolve copyright disputes, and would determine the boundaries of software copyright protection. The second course of legislative action would be to develop a new body of law specifically designed to address software issues such as ownership and protection of intellectual property. It is argued that such an approach might create comprehensive legislation to deal with software copyright issues; however, this approach has not yet received support from either the Congress or industry. References are provided throughout the document. (DB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Congressional Research Service.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Copyright Law 1976