Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Dag Johansen


The Copyright Act protects computer programs, but the exact scope of protection has never been firmly established. Recently, computer software producers have attempted to use the copyright protection of the underlying program to protect the user interface, also known as the "look and feel." In Lotus Development v. Paperback Software, a district court granted broad protection to the user interface of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. This article examines the Lotus decision and concludes that the decision improperly extended copyright to protect functional elements of the program.