The negative side of copyright

The Negative Effects of Software Copyright Digital information technology has contributed to the development of information and technology by enabling easier modification and copying of information. While computers have the ability to achieve this for the well-being of mankind, the system of copyright serves as a hurdle in this as it assigns owners to software programs, most of whom are reluctant to share the potential benefits of their software with others (Stallman, 2009). “ To use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others” (Free Software Foundation, 2014).
Copyright protection only enables the developer of software to deter the software’s copying or copying of the source code. Software copyright does not provide protection against the copying of any process, method of operation, procedure, system, principle, discovery, or concept in the software. In addition to that, software copyright does not provide any surety against independent development of software of the like. A vast majority of the software products cannot address the variety of requirements set forth to get broad protection that the patent law can afford. Most applications of software patent face problems because of the requirement for the invention to be not obvious and be new. Nevertheless, this requirement helps in the process analyzing if or not an individual should pursue copyright protection or patent. “ because copyrights protect the implementation (the actual code) but not the concept, copyrights do not prevent someone from implementing an algorithm in a different programming language or with a different set of routines, for example, offering almost no protection for something as complex and flexible as software” (Zeidman, 2011, p. 93).
The look and feel of software amount to behavior and thus copyright should not be used to protect them in software; the Computer Law Review Committee (CLRC) did not recommend additional protection forms for the displays on screen (Lai, 2000, p. 66). While software copyright has imposed a range of hindrances and hurdles in the way of development and spread of knowledge, free software has generated a lot of benefits. On the technological side, free software sets the stage for open source projects. One of its key examples is the development of Linux as the operating system in which functions of the free software movement serve as pre-requisite for the open source software. Linux could not have been developed and adopted as effectively without free software as it has been with the free software (Amant and Still, 2007, p. 9).
Real service to mankind cannot be made possible with copyright, but it can be made possible with copyleft. The fundamental concept of copyleft is that it provides everybody a right to operate, copy, modify, and distribute the software, but does not allow the users to add their own restrictions (Stallman, 2002, p. 17). Copyrighting of software limits the lawful use and spread of software, limits its applicability, and people’s accessibility to it. Owing to the demerits of software copyrighting, and benefits of copyleft, the latter should be promoted and the former should be discouraged.
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