Ideas, Expressions, Universals, and Particulars: Metaphysics in the Realm of Software Copyright Law

Ideas, Expressions, Universals, and Particulars: Metaphysics in the Realm of Software Copyright Law

Thomas M. Powers (University of Virginia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-576-4.ch004
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

The distinction in U.S. copyright law between ideas and their expressions is of particular importance in protecting software. In literary works and software alike, the ideas that underlie these forms of intellectual property do not enjoy copyright protection, whereas the tangible expressions of the ideas, in fixed media and of sufficient originality, can have copyright protection. The idea vs. expression distinction has been the focus of many cases in the courts, especially where there was an alleged infringement of non-literal parts of a software program, such as “structure, sequence, and organization” or “look and feel.” I argue that this legal distinction relies on the metaphysical distinction between universals and particulars, one that has been a major topic of philosophical controversy for over two millennia. The unsettled nature of the philosophical debate serves as a good explanation of the meandering of case law in this area.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset
Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
John J. Neuhauser
Acknowledgments
Richard A. Spinello, Herman T. Tavani
Chapter 1
Richard A. Spinello, Herman T. Tavani
This chapter presents some foundational concepts and issues in intellectual property. We begin by defining intellectual objects, which we contrast... Sample PDF
Intellectual Property Rights: From Theory to Practical Implementation
$37.50
Chapter 2
Kai Kimppa
This chapter offers a new view on how justifiable the current liberalist view on intellectual property rights (IPRs) in software actually is if... Sample PDF
Intellectual Property Rights in Software-Justifiable from a Liberalist Position? Free Software Foundation's Position in Comparison to John Locke's Concept of Property
$37.50
Chapter 3
Michael J. Scanlan
This chapter considers certain features of Locke’s account in Chapter V of his Second Treatise concerning how a natural right of ownership can arise... Sample PDF
Locke and Intellectual Property Rights
$37.50
Chapter 4
Thomas M. Powers
The distinction in U.S. copyright law between ideas and their expressions is of particular importance in protecting software. In literary works and... Sample PDF
Ideas, Expressions, Universals, and Particulars: Metaphysics in the Realm of Software Copyright Law
$37.50
Chapter 5
Ann Bartow
A judicial determination of “likelihood of confusion” is the linchpin of successful trademark infringement actions in the United States, and is... Sample PDF
Exporting Trademark Confusion
$37.50
Chapter 6
Dan Burk
This chapter examines the relationship between hypermedia and feminist discourse, critiquing the role of copyright in controlling or suppressing... Sample PDF
Feminism and Copyright in Digital Media
$37.50
Chapter 7
Herman T. Tavani
This chapter critically examines current copyright protection schemes that apply to digital information. We begin with a brief examination of the... Sample PDF
Recent Copyright Protection Schemes: Implications for Sharing Digital Information
$37.50
Chapter 8
Richard A. Spinello
This chapter considers the theme of trespass in cyberspace. In order to prevent unauthorized use of their data several U.S. companies have hastily... Sample PDF
Trespass and Kyosei in Cyberspace
$37.50
Chapter 9
Elizabeth Buchanan, James Campbell
This chapter explores the growing threats to intellectual freedom through the loss of the information commons in the U.S. as a direct result of... Sample PDF
New Threats to Intellectual Freedom: The Loss of the Information Commons through Law and Technology in the US
$37.50
Chapter 10
Melanie J. Mortensen
The debate in Canada that occurred prior to the amendment of the Copyright Act regarding the regulation of television retransmission on the Internet... Sample PDF
Would Be Pirates: Webcasters, Intellectual Property, and Ethics
$37.50
About the Authors