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Software company patent
A Software Company Patent is the Door to a World of Confusion
There is no universal understanding of exactly what a software company patent is. In general, owning a patent allows a company certain rights (or exclusivity) for a prescribed amount of time. Individuals or corporations seeking a patent must apply for a patent in each and every country in which they wish to have one. Unlike copyrights, patents are not automatically granted to applicants and can take quite a while in order to be approved. Another thing to remember, particularly with a software company patent, is that a patent may issue in one or more of the countries in which you've applied but not all of them.
The real problem lies in the fact that there really is no central agreement about what a software company patent actually grants among any of the nations so those who are awarded patents may not be getting exactly what they think they are getting in the process. With no universal agreement there really can't be universal enforcement about the laws and the rights surrounding a software company patent.
The growth of Internet business and e-commerce in general has led to many patent applications for software, particularly software that was designed for specific business applications. The problem is that while the cases are granted and successfully tried and defended in some countries, other countries offer no enforcement or legal recourse for those who do not honor the software company patent even if the patents were granted in those countries. The fine line between nations about what is and isn't patentable is another challenge when it comes to establishing and honoring patents. In other words, the issue of a software company patent is a rather confusing process at best.
Patents differ greatly from copyrights, which are issued automatically and recognized and enforced internationally. Copyrights protect the source code of software from being copied and registration is generally not required in order for your work to be protected.
Lately there is a new term, copyleft, which is an obvious play on words and represents the rights to not only redistribute the works that are covered by this but also to modify and freely distribute those modifications. This term is very much in the spirit of many open source types of software and music. The catch for copyleft protection is that the newly created work be distributed in the same manner and spirit in which it was received. In other words if you were freely given the software, then you must freely provide the improvements and modifications you made to that software. Of course this is a long way from the idea of a software company patent.
It is also important that you are sure you understand exactly what you are applying for as far as your patent goes. Different countries will grant patents for different things and those are closely regulated and carefully regarded when it comes to software-know what you are applying for and understand what you are being granted. A software company patent means different things to different people in different places and it nearly impossible to get other countries to honor a patent that they would not have granted at the same time they shouldn't expect other countries to honor patents based on their decision to do so either.
One unfortunate circumstance surrounding patents is that there seems to be an unequal and obvious disparity between the haves and the have not's. Patent enforcement for software, unlike literature and music is largely subjective. In literature and music, it is rather obvious that the copyright has been abused or that the work has been copied, this isn't as simple with software which is one other reason that software company patent is such a hotly debated subject in the software industry.
Copyright music expiration For Many Copyright Music Expiration is a Luxury for Worry If you copyright music, expiration isn't something you have to worry about, at least not in your lifetime. The music that you've written is copyrighted the moment you've put it onto paper or recorded it being played. The reason you don't have to worry about expiration is because the music is protected until 70 years after the death of the author. In the case of your music, that author would be you. This rule about copyright music expiration was first put into place so that the families and heirs of an author could still earn royalties even after his or her death. Ultimately this means that if you've taken the steps to copyright your music and have registered the copyright then your music will be protected throughout your lifetime until 70 years after you or the last surviving author (assuming a collaboration) are no longer living. Copyright music expiration is not something you should make a primary concern unless you are having issues of someone respecting and/or honoring your copyright at the moment. You should take comfort in the fact that as long as you are alive you are the only one who can assign your copyright to another person and as long as you haven't given up your ownership of the music it still belongs to you. This is different however if your copyrighted music was work made for hire. If that is the case then you cannot have ownership of the music, as it never legally belonged to you no matter what form it was in when it changed hands. Works made for hire have different copyright music expiration than those that were owned by the creator. With works made for hire, the copyrights are in effect for 95 years from the original publication date or for 120 years from the creation of the work whichever of the two is shorter. For most beginning musician?s copyright music expiration date isn't as important as getting that first gig or earning that first dollar as a result of the music he or she writes and/or plays. It's about art for many and about survival for others. The latter are quite often the ones that are taken advantage of. These are the authors who don't protect themselves as they should and end up failing to register their music because the idea of buying food seemed more pertinent to survival at the moment. This is often the case, particularly among street musicians and it's something that was becoming a growing problem immediately after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans taking with it many of the homes of starving musicians along with many pieces of music that will never become copyright music, expiration or not, those works are gone forever except in the mind of their creators. who could barely scrape together the money to pay $100 a month for a hovel they shared with 6 or 7 other people in order to keep expenses down and avoid living on the streets. The building not only of homes for those musicians displaced as a result of Katrina's devastation is wonderful but even more than that is the fact that there are organizations that are dedicated to creating a community for these musicians so that maybe many of the struggling artists won't be taken advantage of or have to face the decision to register their music in order to protect and copyright music expiration for their future heirs or to risk loosing their claim over the music they wrote in order to eat or pay the rent or buy groceries.
Copyright Infringement Play It Safe: Making Sure You're Not Committing Copyright Infringement Copyright infringement is not an easy thing to explain. While it may seem as simple as not using someone else?s work, it?s not that easy. Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many other organizations, we have the ability to use others? works ? as long as we use it under ?fair use? laws. So what does fair use have to do with copyright infringement, and how can you utilize it? Fair use laws are the conditions in which you can use a copyrighted work without having to pay someone royalties. This includes when you use a copyrighted work for educational or instructional uses, criticism of the work, commentaries on the work, news reporting about the work, teaching on the work (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship uses, and research. This is talked about fully in Section 107 of the Copyright Code (commonly called Fair Use) and is available for you to read at your local library. Copyright Infringement in day-to-day life Sometimes, if you?re writing a paper for work or school, or if you are creating a Power Point presentation, you need to use someone?s work that is already in copyright. So how do you use it without committing copyright infringement? All you have to do is ask ? the worst they can say is no, right? But, if they do say no, there are several items in the public domain which may help you to finish your project without having to commit copyright infringement. What is the public domain, and how does it relate to copyright infringement? Material that is not copyrighted is considered in the public domain ? you cannot commit copyright infringement on works in the public domain. These works include things that the copyright has expired on, or is not copyright-able ? such as government publications, jokes, titles, and ideas. Some creators (writers, musicians, artists, and more) deliberately put their work in the public domain, without ever obtaining copyright, by providing an affiliation with Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows people who create materials to forfeit some, or all, of their copyright rights and place their work either partially or fully in the public domain. So, how do I ensure I?m not committing copyright infringement? First of all, if you?re going to use someone else?s material, you may want to check the public domain to see if something is suitable for use, instead of trying to use someone else?s copyright. However, if you can?t find something suitable (and you can?t create something yourself), the next best thing (and your only legal course of action) is to find a piece that is in copyright, and contacting the copyright holder. When you contact the copyright holder, make sure you tell them what you want to use their piece for ? whether it?s for your blog, podcast, or report ? and ask them if you can use it. You may have to pay royalties, or an attribution in your piece, or a combination of both. The creator may also place many limitations on when and how you can use their material. Follow all these instructions they give you, and you?ll be free and clear to use their work as you want. Once you have permission to use a copyrighted work, you need to make sure you stay within the agreed-upon boundaries - if you veer outside their agreed terms, you may open yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit ? which can be nasty, costly, and time consuming. If you?re in doubt, before contacting the copyright holder, contact a copyright lawyer to ensure you?re following the law ? and protect yourself!