Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Some programmers, especially those in an academic environment, believe that strong intellectual property protection for software is undesirable. Other programmers, especially those in start-ups and small companies, find that copyright and patent protection for software is necessary to secure venture funding for product development. Such protection also allows them to protect their companies against competition by larger companies and others who would otherwise use the programmer's unprotected innovation without having to make a development effort comparable to that of the originator. Copyrights and patents promote economic growth and innovation in software by rewarding the creators of original works and inventions by granting them exclusive rights in the works and the inventions for limited periods of time. Because software is both a literary and technical work, both copyright and patent protection are appropriate forms of protection. Software is not so different from other literary and technical works that it should have special rules which either eliminate or drastically limit its intellectual property protection.