Chapter 9


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Chapter 9

  1. 1. Computer Protection for Computer Programs and Digital Media David Baumer Spring, 2005
  2. 2. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>In 1976 Congress agreed that computer programs could be protected by CR law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note that software has an expressive dimension and an operational side </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>C R protection extends only to expression not functionality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clearly CR protection includes code, but after that it is questionable as to what is included </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The scope of protectible expression is the subject matter of this chapter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The resolution of this issue decided some of the most important software cases since 1980. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lotus cases, Apple v. Microsoft, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most of the relevant law has come from CL decisions of the courts </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>Distinguishing between expression and the idea is an inexact art </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If only the words are protected in a novel, it is akin to protecting only the code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With that level of protection, only the names could be changed in a novel and the second work would not be an infringement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>On the other hand, the plot, organization, and characters could be protected—similar to protection of the SSO of software </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>The purpose of CR law is not to convey monopoly on the author </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Therefore the availability of substitutes is very important in CR/software law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It is a mistake to interpret CR law creating a monopoly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standard literary accounts, called scenes a faire are not protectible under CR law— e.g., a king’s coronation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These same principles were then applied to computer software with mixed results </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>The courts groped with how to protect computer programs and initially were very protective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Whelan v. Jaslow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Origin of the look and feel test </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Essentially the same program was developed using two different source codes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CR protection for the SSO of the program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Look and feel test should only be applied only if virtually all of the program is considered protectible </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>1994 Apple v. Microsoft </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apple sued based on the similarities between Windows and its (MacIntosh’s) graphical interface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>After stripping out what was not protectible, there was virtually nothing left to compare, hence the look and feel test was not applied </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Apple had licensed a part of Windows and the rest was either functional or was deemed part of the idea </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If a program is too successful it becomes an industry standard and therefore not protectible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Similar to the fate of generic TM’s </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If there is only one way to accomplish a task then it is not protectible under CR law </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>Note that CR law does protect code </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source, object, micro, and code embedded on hardware such as Read-Only chips </li></ul></ul><ul><li>User interfaces </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Lotus v. Paperback case established protection for user interfaces, using Whelan as its authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This case has not been followed, particularly after the courts allowed patents to protect various aspects of software including </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>business application programs, operating systems, expert systems, user interfaces, and data processing systems </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>Modern analysis relies on abstraction, filtration, and comparison </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstract the code, structure, organization, function and purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Filter out items based on efficiency, functionality and items in the public domain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These are all part of the idea and thus not protectible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Note that standard programming tools are in the public domain, e.g., shopping cart for e-commerce sites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then compare the def.’s program with the CR’ed program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>After all the filtering, there is often not much to compare </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. CR Protection for Computer Programs <ul><li>Protection for user interfaces was further diminished by the Lotus v. Borland decision </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The court indicated that the Lotus command hierarchy serves as the method of operation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It cannot be separated from the idea of the spreadsheet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is similar to the command system of a VCR </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. International CR Protection of Computer Programs <ul><li>Again the have and have not issue arises </li></ul><ul><li>In 1991 the EU </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides similar CR protection for software that is available in the U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, load etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Right to make an archival copy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reverse engineering is allowed for purposes of discovering underlying ideas and interoperability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Decompilation is a form of reverse engineering </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. International CR Protection of Computer Programs <ul><li>CR protection of software is included in TRIPS </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WTO members are required to protect software as though it was a literary work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How much more this is than just the code is cloudy at best </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Owners of software can prevent rentals of their work, which is consistent with the exception to the first sale rule in U.S. CR law </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Having laws on the books is one thing, enforcement is another </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In some countries, 90 percent of the software used has been is pirated </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Reverse Engineering of Computer Programs <ul><li>For CR owners of software, they are aware that CR law only protects expressions of ideas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining where the line is between ideas and expression is difficult </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The clean room - dirty room technique is a means of avoiding CR liability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In the dirty room the ideas embedded within the software are identified </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The ideas are then transmitted to the clean room and programmers wrote code to accomplish those ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CR liability is avoided because the clean room folks never had access to the CR’ed material </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Independent creation is a defense </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Reverse Engineering of Computer Programs <ul><li>The first IBM clones were made using the clean room technique </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean room – dirty room techniques still rely on the dirty room being able to differentiate between ideas and expression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dirty room folks must not copy the software or even make notes and program listings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Since most software is sold or circulated as object code, that code must be decompiled into source code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sega v. Accolade stands for the proposition that decompilation is not a copyright violation if it is for the purpose of interoperability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It is a fair use </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Reverse Engineering of Computer Programs <ul><li>Decompilation also allows for discovery of trade secrets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decompilation is allowed as long as there is no other way of gaining access to the ideas embedded in the software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The reason for gaining access must be legitimate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Certainly interoperability is legitimate </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Decompilation to gain interoperability trumps license agreements according to most legal authorities, particularly in the mass market </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EU agrees that decompilation for interoperability is a fair use </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Reverse Engineering of Computer Programs <ul><li>The decision in Sega enabled Connectix to prevail over Sony in case where </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Connectix decompiled Sony’s Virtual Play Station in order to make it operate on a Mac </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Court agreed with the def. that the decompilation was a fair use </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Digital Sampling, Imaging and Multimedia Works <ul><li>Digital audio sampling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-recorded sounds are manipulated to form new sounds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Slow downs, speed up, raise or lower pitch </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Basically involves integration of the work of another into your musical work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mash ups—mixing lyrics from one CR’ed work with the melody of another CR’ed work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The samplers, broadly defined consider what they do a fair use , and the original CR owners consider it an infringement </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Digital Sampling, Imaging and Multimedia Works <ul><li>Note that sound recording CR owners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do have the right to rearrange and remixed the actual sounds from the composer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair use sampling was allowed in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music in part because it was a parody </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also the markets were dissimilar—little overlap </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Just because the copying is for commercial purposes, does not mean that it cannot be a fair use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Without parody or social commentary , the scope of fair use sampling is very small </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Campbell ruling suggests mash-ups are not likely to qualify for fair use treatment because there is no parody </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Digital Sampling, Imaging and Multimedia Works <ul><li>Samplers can avoid legal uncertainty by negotiating with the original CR owners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note also that rights of privacy protect the name or likeness of a celebrity from being used without their permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The right of publicity or privacy is based on state common law </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This right is increasingly being expanded by states </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Must also be showing by the pl. that the use is commercial </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Digital Imaging <ul><li>Just as with audio, visual images can be altered </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Internet facilitates digital photo-shopping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The original photographers are CR owners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Test for CR infringement for digital imagers is the same: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It is an infringement if the sampled material includes material that is qualitatively important or distinctive </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All the factors that applied to audio sampling apply including whether the sampling is commercial and whether there is some kind of social commentary </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Digital Imaging <ul><li>With photography, the CR owner does not own rights to photograph nature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The CR only protects the creative elements of the photography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scanning natural elements is not a CR violation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Digital imaging frequently interfaces with moral rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital photographic manipulation may distort photographs, such that the artist can file a claim </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Certainly digital imaging can violate rights of publicity and privacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On the other hand, public figures cannot prevent their images from being used to sell newspapers and magazines, particularly when there is some kind of social commentary </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Multimedia Works <ul><li>Multimedia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The information is stored digitally, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>could be interactive, and could be a legal nightmare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requires a large number of CR permissions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The parameters of the permissions are not well defined </li></ul></ul></ul>