Software and the Range of Copyright Rights

Really glad to see Jeremy Freeland has a new post. Congrats to Jeremy as well on founding his new IP boutique law firm. 

The second part of the post discusses how the various, divisible rights under the Copyright Act - to reproduce a work, and to distribute, display, perform and create derivatives of the work - don't apply to software as intuitively as they apply to novels, plays, movies and songs. Jeremy writes:

"Surprisingly, many software licenses, especially forms pressed upon reluctant vendors by their customers, don’t address any of the exclusive rights under the copyright laws. They simply provide the licensee with the right to ‘use’ the software. This is all well and good to the extent the licensee needs rights under the software licensor’s trade secret and/or patent rights. But, it doesn’t do much in the way of specifying what rights the licensee has under the copyright law. For example, if I have a license to ‘use’ software, do I have a right to make modifications to the software?"

Jeremy goes on to give an example of careful software license wording that deliberately deploys the copyright rights to copy, distribute and create derivative works.  

While I want Jeremy to write more, more, more, I hope he doesn't stop commenting on my blog. His comments here are often more substantive than my posts!


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