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Full-Text Articles in Law

Software Developers Want Changes In Patent And Copyright Law, David A. Burton Jun 1996

Software Developers Want Changes In Patent And Copyright Law, David A. Burton

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Most software developers do not oppose all software copyrights. There is broad support for basic copyright protection of computer programs which prohibits directly copying computer programs without the author's permission. Nearly all commercial software is copyrighted, and most programmers agree that such protection is necessary in order for software development to be profitable. However, software patents and "look and feel" copyrights go well beyond this to prohibit other programmers from independently writing even programs that are similar to the protected program. Such constraints are strongly resented by many in the software development community who long for the good old days …


Speaking Frankly About Copyright Infringement On Computer Bulletin Boards: Lessons To Be Learned From "Frank Music, Nctcom" And The White Paper, Joseph V. Myers, Iii Mar 1996

Speaking Frankly About Copyright Infringement On Computer Bulletin Boards: Lessons To Be Learned From "Frank Music, Nctcom" And The White Paper, Joseph V. Myers, Iii

Vanderbilt Law Review

Copyright law operates primarily as a strict liability, regime whenever infringing behavior constitutes a direct infringement of copyright. When behavior qualifies as an indirect infringement, gaps in copyright protection are filled by principles of contributory and vicarious liability. Although the application of these liability constructs has never been a simple matter, recent growth in the on- line industry has resulted in a dramatic confusion and divergence of views. In particular, the law is currently unclear in two important respects. First, opinions differ greatly as to whether computer bulletin board operators ("sysops") should incur liability for the infringing misdeeds of individual …


Rhetoric And Reality In Copyright Law, Stewart E. Sterk Mar 1996

Rhetoric And Reality In Copyright Law, Stewart E. Sterk

Michigan Law Review

My first objective in this article is to explore the gulf between copyright rhetoric and copyright reality. After examining copyright rhetoric, the article demonstrates how neither the need to generate creative activity nor the desire to reward deserving authors provides a plausible justification for current copyright doctrine.

Why, then, does copyright doctrine continue to expand? The concluding section suggests some answers. Interest-group politics provides an obvious answer and one well-substantiated by the history of copyright legislation. But the story does not end with interest-group politics. Instead, I suggest that the nation's elite, including its lawmakers, has a stake in believing …


The Copyright Act Of 1976 And Prejudgment Interest, Jon M. Powers Mar 1996

The Copyright Act Of 1976 And Prejudgment Interest, Jon M. Powers

Michigan Law Review

This Note argues that prejudgment interest should be presumptively available on damages-plus-profits awards under section 504(b) but should not be available for statutory damages under section 504(c). Part I argues that Supreme Court precedent suggests that the explicit reference to interest found in the Patent Act does not prevent courts from awarding prejudgment interest under the 1976 Copyright Act. Part II asserts that the 1976 Copyright Act's silence regarding prejudgment interest does not represent a congressional choice to exclude this remedy and that, in the face of this silence, the underlying purposes of section 504 should determine the propriety of …


Goodbye To All That--A Reluctant (And Perhaps Premature) Adieu To A Constitutionally-Grounded Discourse Of Public Interest In Copyright Law, Peter A. Jaszi Jan 1996

Goodbye To All That--A Reluctant (And Perhaps Premature) Adieu To A Constitutionally-Grounded Discourse Of Public Interest In Copyright Law, Peter A. Jaszi

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

In this Article, Professor Jaszi suggests that there is a need to develop new, policy-grounded arguments against expansionist legislative and judicial tendencies in copyright that diminish the traditional public domain. In recent years, he contends, a new understanding of the purposes of a copyright system has emerged, which has changed the U.S. copyright discourse in support of increased proprietary rights. According to Professor Jaszi, the objective of this new understanding is to improve the competitive position of companies that have significant investments in Inventories of copyrighted works. Recognizing the Uruguay Round Amendments Act (URAA) as an episode in this new …


The Trips Agreement: Imperialistic, Outdated, And Overprotective, Marci A. Hamilton Jan 1996

The Trips Agreement: Imperialistic, Outdated, And Overprotective, Marci A. Hamilton

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

According to Professor Hamilton, the TRIPS Agreement constructs international copyright law in the image of Western, Protestant-based capitalist copyright law. She suggests that the Agreement imposes presuppositions about human value, effort, and reward that contain political, sociological, and legal ramifications. In fact, the Agreement, with its focus upon valuing individual human creative achievement, could spur further developments in Western-based human rights in the rest of the world. By transplanting Western ideas to the rest of the world, TRIPS may actually encourage anti-authoritarian revolution. She further suggests that the TRIPS Agreement seeks to establish a free market of intellectual property goods. …


Thermal Windows: How Well-Insulated Are Software Developers From Copying Of Their Programs' Visual Displays, Doug Neville Jan 1996

Thermal Windows: How Well-Insulated Are Software Developers From Copying Of Their Programs' Visual Displays, Doug Neville

Missouri Law Review

Throughout the relatively short history of the computer industry, many disputes have arisen over unauthorized copying of computer programs. However, in most of the earlier cases, the disputed copyright protected the actual program code as a literary work rather than the visual display of the program as an artistic work. In Apple Computer,Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confronted an alleged copyright violation resulting from copied visual displays. Because the disputed copyright protected the displays as artistic works rather than the program code as a literary work, the court was forced to apply established principles in …