Friday, March 20, 2009

All of us might have violated copyright law at some point

After wrote my previous blog, I did some thinking and found that all of us, who uses computers (especially wrote computer programs) might have violated copy right law at some moment.

According to US copy right law:
“Copies” are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term “copies” includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed.

In this case, my wife might wrote a copy righted joke (short one, 1 or 2 sentences) on our computer, left notepad open and left. I switch account, turn on WOW and warden scans, copy the entire joke from RAM location A to location B and do his work. There is a copyright violation! My wife's exclusive right to make copy (under section 106) has just been violated.

And for that, even anti virus program are liable.

And for us programmers, sometimes we allocate memory in excess of what we need, and that excess un-initialized part of RAM might contain copyrighted material. And in C/C++, when you pass in an array by copy, that is a copy. And when a debugger is attached, you can see/communicate with that data.

Of course, in that case no one will sue you because it is hard to argue how they are harmed. But it is against the law in its current language anyway. (In the case of MAI vs Peak, Peak's IT person can't even boot MAI customer's machine.)

No comments: