Ethics in Technology

Topics: Copyright, Intellectual property, Public domain Pages: 3 (818 words) Published: December 11, 2012
A patent is a twenty year exclusive monopoly on the right to make, use and sell a qualifying invention.  This legal authority is considered a reward for the time and effort spent in creating the invention.  In return, the invention must be defined in detail to the Patent Office, which publishes the information increasing the amount of technological knowledge available to the public.   Since patent rights are exclusive, anyone making, using or selling the patented invention without the patent owner's authorization is guilty of infringement.  Penalties are stiff and include triple damages. Software patents can be extremely powerful economically.  They can protect features of a program that cannot be protected under copyright or trade secret law.  For example, patents can be obtained for ideas, systems, methods, and functions embodied in a software product: editing functions, user-interface features, compiling techniques, operating system techniques, program algorithms, menu arrangements, display presentations or arrangements, and program language translation methods.  While a patent can protect the ideas embedded in a software program, a copyright cannot.  Copyright protection extends to the particular form in which an idea is expressed.  In the case of software, copyright law would protect the source and object code, as well as certain unique original elements of the user interface. The owner of a copyrighted software program has certain exclusive rights:  the rights to copy the software, create modified versions of it, and distribute copies to the public by license, sale or otherwise.  Anyone exercising any of these exclusive rights without permission of the copyright owner will be subject to liability for damages or statutory fines. Copyright protection arises automatically upon the creation of an original work of authorship.  There is no need to "apply" for a copyright or register the copyrighted work in order for protection to exist.  Generally, the duration...
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