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This Paper Is About Computer Copyright Laws. It Also Goes Itto Software Copyright Laws.

2676 words - 11 pages

-Software and copyright-Current copright and patent laws are inapropriate for computer software; their imposition slowsdown software development and reduces competition.From the first computer as we know them, the ENIAC, computer software has become more and moreimportant. From thousands of bytes on miles of paper to millions of bytes on a thin piece of tin foilsandwitched between two pieces of plastic, software has played an important part in the world. Computershave most likely played an important role in all our lives, from making math easier with calculators, tohaving money on the go with ATM machines. However, with all the help that has been given to us, wehaven't done anything for software and the people who write it. Software by nature is completelydefenseless, as it is more or less simply intellectual property, and not a physical thing, thus veryeasily copied. Copied software does not make money for its creators, and thus they charge more for whatsnot copied, and the whole industry inflates.There are two categories of intellectual property. The first one is composed of writing, music,and films,which are covered by copyright. Inventions and innovations are covered by patent. These twocategories have covered for years many kinds of work with little or no conflict. Unfortunately, it isnot that easy when dealing with such a complex matter as computer software. When something is typed ona computer, it is considered writting, as it is all written words and numbers. However, when executed bythe computer, it functions like an invention, performing a specific task as instructed by the user.Thus, software falls into both categories (Del Guercio 22-24). It is generally covered today bycopyright laws, for most mass market software at least. More advanced software or programmingtechniques, however, can be patented, as they are neither obvious nor old. This results in many problemswhich I will go into later.Copyrights last the lifetime of the author, plus 50 years, and can be renewed. Patents last only17 years, but cannot be renewed. With technology advancing so quickly, it is not necessary to maintainthe protection of the software for the length of the copyright, but also, it is sometimes necessary torenew them (Del Guercio 22-24), say, for a 10th sequel in a video game series or version 47.1 of Bob'sGraphic Program. With copyrighted material, one is able to write software similiar to someone else's, solong as the programming code is their own, and not borrowed from the others (Del Guercio 22-24). Thiskeeps the industry competitive, and thus results in better software (because everyone is greedy, and theydon't want to fall behind). With patents no one is allowed to create software that performs a similarfunctions. Take AutoCAD and TrueSpace 2, two 3D modeling programs. TrueSpace 2 would be a violation ofpatent laws, as it performs a very close task to AutoCADs, !which came first. Luckily for us, CAD programs are not new, they have been around for more...

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