Should Computer Software Receive Copyright Protection?

by on December 14, 2004 · 4 comments

Greg Aharonian, Editor/Publisher of the Internet Patent News Service–and one of America’s leading intellectual property experts–has just filed a major lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of software copyrights. In his complaint to the U.S. District Court’s Northern California Circuit, Aharonian details the adverse impact of vague software copyright laws and decisions.

This is an important development worth monitoring very closely. I encourage you to take a close look at the complaint here. Also, you can keep track of further developments on this case on Greg’s excellent webpage here.

Stay tuned, much more to come on this. This has all the makings of a historic intellectual property case.

P.S. I edited a book a few years ago (CopyFights: The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age) that included several essays debating the merits of software and business method patents. If you’re interested, click here.

  • http://mcgath.blogspot.com garym

    This suit claims that software copyright protection is unconstitutionally vague, yet claims that patents provide a better alternative. If this suit succeeds, we might as well forget about having a software industry; legitimate code will be plagiarized without protection, while developers of new code will have to search through an impossible-to-negotiate maze of patents. (Try reading any software patent and figuring out what it says.) There will have to be four lawyers to every programmer.

    What’s Ahronian’s purpose with this insane lawsuit? To give employment to a horde of patent lawyers, perhaps?

  • http://mcgath.blogspot.com garym

    This suit claims that software copyright protection is unconstitutionally vague, yet claims that patents provide a better alternative. If this suit succeeds, we might as well forget about having a software industry; legitimate code will be plagiarized without protection, while developers of new code will have to search through an impossible-to-negotiate maze of patents. (Try reading any software patent and figuring out what it says.) There will have to be four lawyers to every programmer.

    What’s Ahronian’s purpose with this insane lawsuit? To give employment to a horde of patent lawyers, perhaps?

  • James Gattuso

    Adam — It doesn’t seem Ahronian raises a real “case or controversy” for the courts — he’s just asking for a declarary judgment by the courts without any specific dispute at hand. Whatever the merits, the courts will throw this out until there’s an actual disute with an actual patent at hand.

  • James Gattuso

    Adam — It doesn’t seem Ahronian raises a real “case or controversy” for the courts — he’s just asking for a declarary judgment by the courts without any specific dispute at hand. Whatever the merits, the courts will throw this out until there’s an actual disute with an actual patent at hand.

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