Copyright Protection for Software Architecture: Just Say No!

Friday, January 1st, 1988 at 12:00 am by Marc T. Kretschmer
Marc T. Kretschmer, Copyright Protection for Software Architecture: Just Say No!, 1988 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 823

Consistent treatment of issue of copyright protection for software architecture has yet to be achieved by the federal courts. In Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Laboratory, Inc. (“Whelan”), the Third Circuit significantly expanded the sphere of copyright protection for computer software by holding that the structure, sequence and organization of a computer program are protected by the law of copyright. Other courts, most notably the district court in Synercom Technology, Inc. v. University Computing Co. (“Synercom”), have refused to extend copyright protection to the structural elements of software. This Note contends that Whelan’s extension of copyright protection seriously distorts traditional copyright law, particularly with regard to the fundamental idea/expression dichotomy.

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