Software Copyright

We help our clients make stronger arguments in software copyright cases.

 
Copyright is an indispensable form of intellectual property protection for the software industry. At the same time, software copyright is a complex and continuously evolving area of the law. A common misconception is that copyright only protects source code — in fact, copyright also protects software designs, user interface elements, and object code. At the same time, ideas, facts, functions, and processes are generally not protected by copyright. Determining what aspects of a software program are eligible for copyright protection is a complex task, and determining whether copyright infringement has taken place is even more complex.


What We Do

Quandary Peak experts can:

  • Document control structure, data structure, data flow, information architecture, and textual organization of the code.
  • Reduce the cost and complexity of applying the abstraction-filtration-comparison (AFC) test by refining and focusing the task.
  • Identify unprotectable ideas, functions, facts, and processes that are not eligible for copyright protection.
  • Prepare well-focused exhibits describing the relevant portions of code at multiple levels of abstraction.
  • Offer technical grounds both in defense of AFC choices and to challenge AFC choices made by the opposing party.
  • Explain when copying for the purpose of legitimate reverse engineering is a fair use.
  • Analyze the four factors to be considered in determining fair use.
What We Know
  • Software structure, sequence, and organization (SSO)
  • Computer Associates International v. Altai
  • Substantial similarity of non-literal elements of a program
  • The difference between expression and idea in source code
  • The abstraction, filtration, comparison (AFC) test
  • Whelan Associates v. Jaslow Dental Laboratory
  • Derivative works and compilations
  • Lotus Development v. Borland International
  • How copyright protects both source code and object code
  • Gates Rubber v. Bando Chemical
  • Methods of operation

Call or email us to inquire about software copyright and infringement analysis.