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Software Licenseing And Piracy Act For A Business Lay Class

3694 words - 15 pages

Software Licensing and PiracyBusiness LawIn 1993 worldwide illegal copying of domestic and international software cost $12.5 billion to the software industry, with a loss of $2.2 billion in the United States alone. Estimates show that over 40 percent of U.S. software company revenues are generated overseas, yet nearly 85 percent of the software industry's piracy losses occurred outside of the United States borders. The Software Publishers Association indicated that approximately 35 percent of the business software in the United States was obtained illegally, which 30 percent of the piracy occurs in corporate settings. In a corporatesetting or business, every computer must have its own set of original software and the appropriate number of manuals. It is illegal for a corporation or business to purchase a single set of original software and then load that software onto more than one computer, or lend, copy or distribute software for any reason without the prior written consent of the software manufacturer. Many software managers are concerned with the legal compliance, along with asset management and costs at their organizations. Many firms involve their legal departments and human resources in regards to software distributionand licensing.Information can qualify to be property in two ways; patent law and copyright laws which are creations of federal statutes, pursuant to Constitutional grant of legislative authority. In order for the government to prosecute the unauthorized copying of computerized information as theft, it must first rely on other theories of information-as-property. Trade secret laws are created by state law, and most jurisdictions have laws that criminalize the violations of a trade-secret holder's rights in the secret. The definition of a trade secret varies somewhat from state to state, but commonly have the same elements. For example, AThe information must be secret, Anot of public knowledge or of general knowledge in the trade or business, a court will allow a trade secret to be used by someone who discovered or developed the trade secret independently or if the holder does not take adequate precautions to protect the secret.In 1964 the United States Copyright Office began to register software as a form of literary expression. The office based its decision on White-Smith Music Co. v. Apollo , where the Supreme Court determined that a piano roll used in a player piano did not infringe upon copyrighted music because the roll was part of a mechanical device. Since a computer program is textual, like a book, yet also mechanical, like the piano roll in White-Smith, the Copyright Office granted copyright protection under the rule of doubt.In 1974, Congress created the Natural Commission on New Technological Uses (CONTU) to investigate whether the evolving computer technology field outpaced the existing copyright laws and also to determine the extent of copyright protection for computer programs. CONTU concluded that while...

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