Learned Hand Never Played Nintendo: A Better Way to Think about the Non-Literal, Non-Visual Software Copyright Cases

David W. T. Daniels
1994 The University of Chicago Law Review  
The rapid development of computer science has left courts struggling to fit new technologies into the traditional framework of intellectual property law. One of the most difficult legal issues is defining the limits of copyright protection for computer software. For about a decade, courts have held that the literal code of a computer program enjoys copyright protection in the same way that a literary work does.' But this conclusion does not settle whether and how the non-literal structure of a
more » ... ral structure of a computer program should be protected. Under long-standing case law, one can infringe on the copyright of a play or novel not only by copying the literal words, but also by duplicating the work's plot or structure. 2 Courts have likewise concluded that copying the non-literal structure of a computer program counts as a copyright infringement. 3 t A.B. 1989, Princeton University; M.A. (A.B.D.) 1991,
doi:10.2307/1600047 fatcat:i4do2in4tzh3hc2avbvtam6a5q