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16. Copyright protection  

This chapter discusses protection under the law of copyright. Topics covered include copyright basics; obtaining copyright; forms of protected work; the requirement of originality; copyright ownership; copyright infringement; the nature of copying; other rights belonging to the copyright owner; the development of software copyright; and literal and non-literal copying. The law of copyright is perhaps the major branch of intellectual property law relevant to computer software. Virtually every piece of software will be protected by copyright. The main issue concerns the extent of the protection that is offered. Computer programs are generally protected as literary works. This was appropriate in the early days where computers performed essentially functional tasks – often associated with mathematical calculations. It is arguable that modern software, which often makes extensive use of graphical images, is more akin to an artistic work than a literary one. Regardless of categorization, the courts in the United Kingdom have applied a narrow interpretation of the scope of copyright. Reproduction of the underlying code will be unlawful but replication through independent work of the effects produced by the code (often referred to a non-literal copying) will not.

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11. Copyright in the digital environment  

This chapter examines copyright issues arising from copying and distributing information on the internet. The discussion focuses on how the internet has challenged the application and development of copyright law, considering web-copyright concerns such as linking, caching, and aggregating, citing Google Inc. v Copiepresse SCRL. It spends considerable time discussing the operation of the temporary reproduction right through key cases Infopaq International and Public Relations Consultants Association v Newspaper Licensing Agency. The analysis then moves on to examine the communication to the public right created by the Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society Directive examining the application of the right through key cases such as Nils Svensson v Retriever Sverige, Stichting Brein v Ziggo BV, VG Bild-Kunst v Stiftung and Tunein Inc. v Warner Music. It concludes with a discussion of the newly enacted Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.

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17. Enforcement issues  

This chapter considers two main topics. It first examines the provisions of the EU’s Copyright in the Information Society Directive, which sets out to amend some provisions of copyright law better to fit the realities of an online world. It then looks at some of the issues associated with enforcement of copyright, considering the extent to which intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) might be held liable for infringing acts committed by their users. Attention is increasingly paid to the possibility that rights owners might proceed against users whose actions infringe their rights. In many cases this will require the cooperation of ISPs and a major component of the Digital Economy Act 2010 is concerned with the manner in which this process might be managed.

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9. Software  

This chapter examines whether software should be protected by patent law or by the law of copyright, or through a sui generis form of protection. It first provides a historical background on software and copyright protection, before discussing the scope of software copyright protection and copyright infringement. The chapter then looks at several forms of copyright infringement such as offline, online, and employee piracy, and also explains the look and feel infringement by citing three cases: Navitaire v easyJet, Nova Productions v Mazooma Games, and SAS Institute v World Programming Ltd. In addition, it considers permissible acts under the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 without infringing the rights of the copyright holder. Finally, the chapter analyses cases relating to patent protection for computer software, including software patents under the European Patent Convention and the decision in Aerotel v Telco & Macrossan.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

11. Copyright in the digital environment  

This chapter examines copyright issues from copying and distributing information from the internet. It considers the discussion focuses on how the internet has challenged the application and development of copyright law, considering web-copyright concerns such as linking, caching, and aggregating, citing Google Inc. v Copiepresse SCRL. It spends considerable time discussing the operation of the temporary eproduction right though key cases Infopaq International, and Public Relations Consultants Association v Newspaper Licensing Agency. The analysis then moves on to examine the communication to the public right created by the Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society Directive, examining the application of the right through key cases such as Nils Svensson v Retriever Sverige, GS Media v Sanoma Media, and Stichting Brein v Ziggo BV.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

12. Copyright infringement in the digital environment  

This chapter analyses cases of copyright infringement in the online environment. It begins by analysing some early cases regarding file-sharing technologies, including A&M Records, Inc. v Napster, Inc., MGM Studios, Inc. v Grokster, Ltd, and Sweden v Neij et al. (The Pirate Bay case). It assesses new techniques for fighting illegal file-sharing, such as blocking access to websites offering file-sharing technology or indexes with a focus on the operation of s.97A website blocking orders. It examines the Supreme Court decision in Cartier International v British Sky Broadcasting and its application in the Nintendo cases Nintendo Co Ltd v Sky UK Ltd and Nintendo Co Ltd v British Telecommunications Plc. Finally, it describes the slightly controversial process known as speculative invoicing and examines the recent case of Mircom International v Virgin Media.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

12. Copyright infringement in the digital environment  

This chapter analyses cases of copyright infringement in the online environment. It begins by analysing some early cases regarding file-sharing technologies, including A&M Records, Inc. v Napster, Inc., MGM Studios, Inc. v Grokster, Ltd, and Sweden v Neij et al. (the Pirate Bay case). It assesses new techniques for fighting illegal file-sharing, such as blocking access to websites offering file-sharing technology or indexes with a focus on the operation of s. 97A website blocking orders. It examines the recent Supreme Court decision in Cartier International v British Sky Broadcasting which will have substantial implications for costs in these orders. Finally, it describes the slightly controversial process known as speculative invoicing.

Chapter

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13. The emergence and forms of intellectual property law  

Systems of intellectual property law date back many centuries and play a very important role in the information technology field. The main forms of intellectual property law are patents, copyright and trade marks. All play important roles and are considered in this section of the book. Patents and copyright have been applied in an IT context from the early days of the computer whilst trade marks have come to assume more significance with the commercialization of the Internet and its use by major manufacturers who typically own many trade marks developed for use in the course of their activities in the physical environment. As with many areas, the connection between the real and virtual words is not exact. The application of the law of copyright to software has seldom been in doubt. It is clear that the unauthorized copying of all of a work is unlawful. What is not clear is the extent of the protection. The famous scientist Isaac Newton is quoted as saying “If I have seen further, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants”. Most later works build to some extent on their predecessors and there is a difficult dividing line between fair and unfair use of such works. Somewhat different issues apply in relation to patents – a branch of the law which offers the strongest protection but does require that works be innovative and produce a technical effect – that they should do something. This can be difficult to assess in respect of very fast-moving technologies.

Chapter

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9. Software  

This chapter examines whether software should be protected by patent law or by the law of copyright, or through a sui generis form of protection. It first provides a historical background on software and copyright protection, before discussing the scope of software copyright protection and copyright infringement. The chapter then looks at several forms of copyright infringement such as offline, online, and employee piracy, and also explains the look and feel infringement by citing three cases: Navitaire v easyJet, Nova Productions v Mazooma Games, and SAS Institute v World Programming Ltd. In addition, it considers permissible acts under the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 without infringing the rights of the copyright holder, including software licences, end-user licence agreements (EULAs),. Finally, the chapter analyses cases relating to patent protection for computer software, including software patents under the European Patent Convention and the decision in Aerotel v Telco and Macrossan.

Book

Cover Information Technology Law
Information Technology Law: The Law and Society is the ideal companion for a course of study on information technology law and the ways in which it is evolving in response to rapid technological and social change. The fifth edition of this ground-breaking textbook develops its unique examination of the legal processes and their relationship to the modern ‘information society’. Charting the development of the rapid digitization of society and its impact on established legal principles, Murray examines the challenges faced with enthusiasm and clarity. Following a clearly-defined part structure, the text begins by defining the information society and discussing how it may be regulated, before moving on to explore issues of internet governance, privacy and surveillance, intellectual property and rights, and commerce within the digital sphere. The author’s highly original and thought-provoking approach to the subject also makes it essential reading for researchers, IT professionals, and policy-makers. This fifth edition includes expanded coverage of AI authorship and computer generated works, cryptocurrency, cryptoassets and blockchain technology as well as being significantly expanded to cover developments in defamation law, net neutrality, data protection, and smart contracting.

Chapter

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13. Databases  

This chapter examines database right, a sui generis form of intellectual property protection, the roots of which are to be found in copyright law. It first compares copyright and database rights before turning to cases in which the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 was applied to listings of information in the form of a simple database. The chapter then considers the European Union’s Database Directive and analyses the Fixtures Marketing, British Horseracing Board Ltd v William Hill, and Football Dataco v Yahoo! cases. Finally, it looks at databases, along with the intellectual property issues that they generate, within the framework of the information society.

Chapter

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8. Intellectual property rights and the information society  

This chapter examines intellectual property rights (IPRs) in relation to the information society. The discussion begins with an overview of IPRs involving copyright, patents, trade marks, and the database right, and then considers IPRs and the process of digitization within the framework of cyberlaw. It mentions the criticism received for overprotecting content or systems in the information society and discusses the idea of an over-reliance on models developed for a previous age and for different challenges in dealing with the information economy and society. It concludes by highlighting the tension between the information society and the intellectual property industry in terms of what each wants and expects: liberty, free use of content, and unfettered free expression for the former; and protection, control over use, and abuse and reward for the latter.

Book

Cover Information Technology Law
Information Technology Law: The Law and Society is the ideal companion for a course of study on information technology law and the ways in which it is evolving in response to rapid technological and social change. The fourth edition of this groundbreaking textbook develops its unique examination of the legal processes and their relationship to the modern ‘information society’. Charting the development of the rapid digitization of society and its impact on established legal principles, Murray examines the challenges faced with enthusiasm and clarity. Following a clearly defined part structure, the text begins by defining the information society and discussing how it may be regulated, before moving on to explore issues of internet governance, privacy and surveillance, intellectual property and rights, and commerce within the digital sphere. The author’s highly original and thought-provoking approach to the subject also makes it essential reading for researchers, IT professionals, and policymakers. This fourth edition includes expanded coverage of net neutrality, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology as well as being significantly explained to cover developments in data retention and protection in light of significant developments in the area.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

13. Databases  

This chapter examines database right, a sui generis form of intellectual property protection, the roots of which are to be found in copyright law. It first compares copyright and database rights before turning to cases in which the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 was applied to listings of information in the form of a simple database. The chapter then considers the European Union’s Database Directive and analyses the Fixtures Marketing, British Horseracing Board Ltd v William Hill, and Football Dataco v Yahoo! cases. Finally, it looks at databases, along with the intellectual property issues that they generate, within the framework of the information society.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

8. Intellectual property rights and the information society  

This chapter examines intellectual property rights (IPRs) in relation to the information society. The discussion begins with an overview of IPRs involving copyright, patents, trademarks, and the database right, and then considers IPRs and the process of digitization within the framework of cyberlaw. It mentions the criticism received for overprotecting content or systems in the information society and discusses the idea of an over-reliance on models developed for a previous age and for different challenges in dealing with the information economy and society. It concludes by highlighting the tension between the information society and the intellectual property industry in terms of what each wants and expects: liberty, free use of content, and unfettered free expression for the former; and protection, control over use, and abuse and reward for the latter.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

18. Protection of databases  

Databases form a vitally important part of the information society. The traditional approach in the United Kingdom has been to protect their contents as compilations under the law of copyright. This contrasts with the approach adopted in civil law states which have historically required a more significant qualitative element as a condition for the award of copyright than has been the case in the United Kingdom. Databases would not meet this requirement – although many states would offer protection under unfair competition laws. The European Union’s database directive strikes something of a compromise between the two approaches. The chapter will consider the extent of the sui generis database right and consider its practical application in the, albeit limited, number of cases in which it has been considered by the courts.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

19. Design rights  

This chapter considers two forms of design right available in the United Kingdom: registered and unregistered design rights. The former is the older concept and was initially applicable to designs intended to be imprinted on linen; the system was extended to other forms of product by the Copyright and Design Act of 1839. This offered protection for ‘the ornamentation and for the shape and configuration of any article of manufacture’. The notion of unregistered design right was introduced to the United Kingdom in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Design rights in tablet computers are also discussed.