Vintage Software Copyright

Fred Cisin cisin at
Fri Aug 21 16:34:11 CDT 2015

On Fri, 21 Aug 2015, Rod Smallwood wrote:
> And...
>       We have a new question. What would have been the first piece of 
> copyrightable software?

Combined with the issue that many lawyers and judges did not consider 
software to BE copyrightable.

And then, there was a general consensus that the code was copyrightable, 
but not the performance.  You could legally create your own Puckman 
program, so long as you didn't use any of their code.  That led to 
projects such as Adam Osborne's Paperback Software, which did clean-room 
writing of duplicates of popular software.  Until Lotus stomped him.
That led to Look&Stink protection, sometimes extending to the sequence and 
names of the choices in a normal "Files" menu.

At the time, if Adam were to have been a few months earlier in acquiring 
any of the rubble of VisiCorp, it could have been all over!
Delrina was not upheld on their "parody" defense of Opus & Bill shooting 
flying toasters, in which the "victim" was an infringer of an album cover.
Consider Xerox in the Windoze/Mac copyright battle!
Many have always considered fundamental concepts to not be copyrightable.
Where would MICROS~1 be if Gary Kildall were to have been litigious?
(Novell's acquisition of DRI was solely for the IP rights, as a "Get Out 
Of Jail Free" card against any Microsoft attack)

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