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Current Copyright and Patent laws: Weak and Ineffective

Uploaded by ghostintheshell on May 11, 2002

The world of today is drastically different from that of twenty years ago. Ideas, life, and technology have changed in many ways. Computers and software have developed significantly since the start of the computer revolution. From the first computer, software has become more important. Our lives all revolve around computers and software. People use them to make math easier with calculators, and use them to withdraw money on the go with ATM machines. However, even with all the technological help that has presented in the past few decades, software and the people who write it barely protected by law. Current copyright and patent laws are not strong enough to protect programmers' rights, and they even slow down software development and reduce competition; software is not a physical thing and by nature completely defenseless, as it is more or less simply intellectual property, and thus, is very easily copied.

There are two categories of intellectual property. The first one is composed of writing, music, and film, which are covered by copyright. Patents cover inventions and innovations (Bassinger 24-28). These two categories have safely covered many kinds of work, with little or no conflict for years. For example, Susan Willis described Disney World's strict policy on photography in her essay, "Disney World: Public Use/Private State:"

"The merchandise, the costumes, the scenery ¡V all is either stamped with the Disney logo or Covered by copyright legislation¡K it is impossible to photograph at Disney World without running the risk of infringing a Disney copyright," and "the only thing that saves the average family from a lawsuit is that most don't use their vacation photos as a means for making profit" (Willis 751).

Unfortunately, it is not that easy when dealing with such a complex matter such as computer software. For example, there is a program that can perform specific tasks¡Xcreating, editing, deleting, and formatting texts¡Xsuch as Microsoft Word. Before, the program could be used to do those specific jobs; the program is in the text format that is just like an essay with strange form. Therefore, when something is typed on a computer, it is considered writing, as it is all written words and numbers. However, when executed by the computer, it functions like an invention, performing a specific task as instructed by the user. Thus, software falls into both categories (Salone 25).

As illustrate above, software can either fall into the categories of copyrights or...

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Uploaded by:   ghostintheshell

Date:   05/11/2002

Category:   Technology

Length:   9 pages (2,097 words)

Views:   2747

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