Ethics in Technology
With the emergence of the Internet and computers, copyright became more and more widely used. Copyrights are rights which protect ownership of the author-creator of some work, and mostly relates to intellectual works. There are different ways to protect own property rights on software, still there are debates relating to definition copyright, trade secrecy and software patents. Although concepts of copyright, trade secrecy and patent differ much, they one thing in common protection of authorship and idea of the creator.
Copyright, Trade Secrecy and Software Patents
“The concept of copyright, originally intended to protect authors and publishers of books, has broadened to include other knowledge products such as computer programs and films…”(Chandra 95). Nowadays copyright serves as stimulus for development and creation. The main reasons to register copyright are to protect own works, including software from making financial return from it and illegal using it by others.It should be mentioned that copyright is closely tight with trade secrecy. Trade secrecy extends to computer software and include “secrecy, novelty, and competitive value in a trade or “ (Solomon 133). According to R. Solomon “The prudent software owner should obtain nondisclosure, noncompetition, and confidentiality agreements from employees and business associates” (Solomon 135). According to Andres Gonzales “Software is not a monolithic work: it possesses several elements that can fall within different categories of intellectual property protection” (Gonzales 6), therefore, there are some difficulties to register patents on software. “If a computer program contains elements that meet patentability requirements, it should be awarded software protection” (Gonzales 7).
There are different ways to protect own property rights on software, still there are debates relating to definition copyright, trade secrecy and software patents.
Principle Copyright Rights
The main reasons to register copyright are to protect own works, including software from making financial return from it and illegal using it by others. Copyright gives its owner several rights.Copyright includes reproduction or author’s work in various forms; the distribution of copies and public performance as well as translation into other languages and its adaptation, such as a novel into a screenplay(WIPO). The owner of copyrights may prohibit or authorize: all of these actions.Legal ProtectionsCopyright protects authorship, as well as reproduction of original or similar to original software. According to Mark Radcliff “Copyright prohibits the reproduction, distribution, modification, public performance and public display of software that is "substantially similar" to the original software” (Radcliff).
A good example of software copyright violation is creation of another Internet Explorer using the same scheme and interface of its work, still if one creates new browser from scratch without using elements of original work, copyright will be not violated.Mark Radcliff states that “trade secret law protects any information that is not "commonly known" and which the company has taken reasonable steps to keep in confidence” (Radcliff). For example, companies as Google and Apple may prohibit to use any information provided by them and to them during cooperation with their employees, to avoid same codes or schemes usage in software development.“Patents protect "inventions" …