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Book description

"Clear, correct, and deep, this is a welcome addition to discussions of law and computing for anyone -- even lawyers!" -- Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society

If you work in information technology, intellectual property is central to your job -- but dealing with the complexities of the legal system can be mind-boggling. This book is for anyone who wants to understand how the legal system deals with intellectual property rights for code and other content. You'll get a clear look at intellectual property issues from a developer's point of view, including practical advice about situations you're likely to encounter.

Written by an intellectual property attorney who is also a programmer, Intellectual Property and Open Source helps you understand patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and licenses, with special focus on the issues surrounding open source development and the GPL. This book answers questions such as:

  • How do open source and intellectual property work together?

  • What are the most important intellectual property-related issues when starting a business or open source project?

  • How should you handle copyright, licensing and other issues when accepting a patch from another developer?

  • How can you pursue your own ideas while working for someone else?

  • What parts of a patent should be reviewed to see if it applies to your work?

  • When is your idea a trade secret?

  • How can you reverse engineer a product without getting into trouble?

  • What should you think about when choosing an open source license for your project?

Most legal sources are too scattered, too arcane, and too hard to read. Intellectual Property and Open Source is a friendly, easy-to-follow overview of the law that programmers, system administrators, graphic designers, and many others will find essential.

Table of Contents

  1. Special Upgrade Offer
  2. Preface
    1. What This Book Is...and Is Not
    2. How to Read This Book
      1. This Book As a Story
      2. This Book As a Reference
      3. A Note About Terminology
    3. The Rest of This Book
      1. An Introduction to IP Law
      2. An Intellectual Property Handbook for Developers
    4. Appendixes
    5. Safari® Books Online
    6. Acknowledgments and Disclaimers
  3. 1. The Economic and Legal Foundations of Intellectual Property
    1. Law and Code
    2. The Types of Intellectual Property
      1. Patents
      2. Copyrights
      3. Trademarks
      4. Trade Secrets
      5. The Intellectual Property System
    3. Intellectual Property and Market Failure
      1. The Cost of Creating Knowledge
      2. The Value of Secrets
      3. The Nature of Information
      4. It’s All Good(s), or Information in Economic Theory
        1. Rivalrous goods
        2. Excludable goods
        3. The four types of goods
          1. Private goods
          2. Club goods
          3. Common-pool goods
          4. Public goods
      5. Information As a Public Good
      6. Changing the Nature of Information
        1. Algorithms for creating knowledge
        2. Making public goods private
        3. The bargain
        4. The purpose of intellectual property in economic terms
      7. About “Property”
        1. Property as a legal concept
        2. Property as a bundle of rights
        3. Property rights and enforcement
    4. Evaluating the System
  4. 2. The Patent Document
    1. The Construction of a Patent
    2. The Face of the Patent
      1. The Patent Number
      2. Inventors and Inventorship
        1. The listing of inventors
        2. Inventorship: becoming an inventor
    3. Conception of the Invention
      1. Reduction to practice
      2. Practical considerations in inventorship
      3. Ownership of a Patent
        1. Selling a patent
        2. Licensing a patent
        3. Destroying a patent
        4. Inventions as a public good
      4. Patents and Dates
        1. The issue date
        2. The application date
        3. The priority date
        4. The patent term
        5. Exceptions to the rule
      5. Other Information on the Face of the Patent
        1. The historical outline
      6. The Synopsis of the Patent
        1. The title
        2. The abstract
        3. The representative figure
    4. The Body of the Patent
      1. The Drawing Sheets
      2. The Written Description
        1. The technical field
        2. The background and summary of the invention
        3. The description of the figures
    5. The Claims
      1. Structure of a Patent Claim
        1. The preamble
        2. The transitional phrase
        3. The limitations
        4. An optional effects clause
      2. Independent and Dependent Claims
    6. Other Resources
  5. 3. The Patent System
    1. The Patent System As a Knowledge Cache
    2. Requirements for Getting a Patent
      1. Section 101: Subject Matter and Utility
        1. Statutory subject matter
        2. Utility
      2. Section 102: Novelty
        1. Prior art
        2. Element-by-element comparison
      3. Section 103: Obviousness
      4. Section 112: Enablement
    3. Getting a Patent
      1. A Typical Corporate Patent Process
        1. Disclosure
        2. Evaluation
        3. Application
        4. Detail
        5. Abstraction
        6. Prosecution
      2. Filing As an Inventor
        1. Problem 1: Syntax
        2. Problem 2: Idioms
    4. Patent Proliferation
      1. The Patent As a Property Right
        1. The right to exclude
        2. The right to injunctive relief
        3. Mutually assured destruction
        4. Patent cross-licensing
  6. 4. Copyright
    1. Copyright in Context
      1. Expression
        1. Expression and personality
        2. Expression and society
        3. Expression and communication
        4. The problem of control
        5. The state of copyright
      2. The Power of Defaults
      3. Defaults in the Application of Copyright
        1. Copyright as the default state
        2. Defaults and complexity
      4. Defaults in the Applicability of Copyright
        1. Defaults in the scope of works eligible for copyright
      5. Copying and the History of Copyright
        1. Copying (the verb) and copyright
        2. The Copyright Act of 1909
        3. Copying and software
    2. The Terms of Copyright
      1. Defining “Expression”
      2. Ideas and Expressions
        1. Judging technical expression
        2. Judging personal expression
        3. Ideas, expressions, and Turing machines
        4. The merger doctrine
        5. Scenes à faire
        6. Mostly functional expression
      3. Fixation
      4. Originality
        1. Original copies
        2. Minimal originality
        3. Compilations
        4. Copyright protection of forms and databases
    3. The Copyright Term
    4. Owning a Copyright
      1. Unpublished Works
      2. Joint Authorship
      3. Works for Hire
        1. Implied licenses and ownership of works for hire
      4. Copyright Formalities
    5. The Rights Granted by Copyright
      1. Reproducing a Work
      2. Preparing Derivative Works
        1. Originality and derivative works
      3. Distributing a Work
        1. The first sale doctrine
      4. Performance or Display of a Work
      5. Fair Use
      6. A Rule of Thumb
        1. ...and a bit about legal interpretation
  7. 5. Trademarks
    1. Trademarks Defined
      1. Trademarks As Pointers
      2. Trademarks As Distinguishing Identifiers
      3. Trademarks As Objects of Focus
      4. Trademarks Build Associations with Their Targets
    2. The Economic Function of Trademarks
      1. Trademarks As Advertising
      2. Trademarks As Information Shortcuts
        1. Producer benefits of trademarks
        2. Customer benefits of trademarks
    3. Modern Trademark Law in the United States
      1. Talking About Trademarks
      2. Establishing Trademark Status
        1. A trademark is born
        2. The limits of trademark protection
        3. Registration: Making the trademark formal
      3. Distinctiveness: The Essential Quality of a Trademark
        1. Generic marks
        2. Descriptive marks
        3. Suggestive marks
        4. Arbitrary and fanciful marks
      4. Defending a Trademark
  8. 6. Trade Secrets
    1. Trade Secrets Defined
    2. The Flaming Moe: The Life and Death of a Trade Secret
      1. Creating a Trade Secret
      2. Trade Secrets Versus Copyrights and Patents
      3. The Elements of Trade Secret Protection
        1. Secrecy
        2. Valuable
        3. Derives value from being secret
      4. Keeping a Trade Secret
        1. Reasonable efforts
      5. Trade Secret Misappropriation
        1. Improper means
        2. Breach of a confidential relationship
        3. The doctrine of inevitable disclosure
        4. General knowledge versus trade secrets
      6. Destroying a Trade Secret
        1. Reverse engineering
        2. Disclosure
    3. Trade Secrets and Software Development
      1. The Reemergence of Trade Secrets
      2. Trade Secrets and Open Source
    4. Trade Secrets, Businesses, and Consultants
  9. 7. Contracts and Licenses
    1. Licenses and Firewalls
    2. Why Contracts and Licenses Matter
      1. Scopes and Roles of Contracts and Licenses
      2. Contracts As Private Law
    3. Contract Law Principles
      1. The Purpose of Contracts
      2. Contracting Parties
      3. Making an Agreement
        1. Offer
        2. Acceptance
        3. Mutual assent
        4. Consideration
        5. Consideration for modifying contracts
        6. Communication
        7. Oral versus written contracts
      4. Interpreting Contracts
        1. Merger and integration clause
        2. Choice of law clause
        3. Term and time of performance
        4. Severability clause
      5. Breach of Contract and Remedies
        1. The necessity of performance
        2. Good faith
        3. Damages and specific performance
    4. Intellectual Property Contracts
      1. Assignments and Licenses
      2. Making an IP Contract a License
        1. Grant of the license
        2. Limitations on the scope of use
        3. Reservation of rights
      3. Specific Limitations on Scope
    5. Applying a License to Intellectual Property
      1. Open Source Licenses
  10. 8. The Economic and Legal Foundations of Open Source Software
    1. A Brief Digression into Terminology
    2. Understanding Open Source
    3. Credit Unions and Open Source: An Analogy
      1. Ownership
        1. Ownership and software development
      2. Involvement
        1. Involvement in software development
      3. Profits, Rates, and Fees
        1. The profit motive in software development
      4. The Customer Relationship
        1. Proprietary software and customer care
        2. Cooperative organizations and customers
      5. Market Profile
        1. Market profiles for banks and credit unions
        2. The difference—ownership
        3. Market profiles and software development
        4. The market for open source software
        5. Firefox: A case study in commodity open source software
        6. Linux: A case study in specialty-oriented open source software
        7. Moving software from a specialty to a commodity product
        8. Ownership, again
    4. The Role of Open Source Licenses
      1. Software Markets and Game Theory
        1. Zero-sum games
        2. Non-zero-sum games
        3. The Prisoner’s Dilemma
        4. The problem of suboptimization
        5. The role of licenses
    5. The Open Source Definition
    6. Different Types of Open Source Licenses
      1. Academic Licenses and Instability
      2. Choosing a Strategy for Open Source
  11. 9. So I Have an Idea...
    1. Cautionary Tales
      1. DSC Communications Corp. v. Evan Brown
      2. DDB Tech v. MLB Advanced Media
      3. Medsphere v. Shreeve
    2. Employees and Inventions
    3. Look At What You Sign
      1. Proprietary Information Agreements
      2. Consideration
      3. Defining Proprietary Information
      4. Assignment
        1. Present assignment and future assignment
        2. Cooperation with the company
      5. Restrictions on PIAs
    4. The Employer-Employee Relationship
      1. Works for Hire
        1. Becoming an employee
        2. The scope of employment
        3. Independent contractors
        4. Statutory categories
        5. Written agreement
        6. Applying the rules
        7. Trademarks and other forms of non-patent IP
      2. Patents—Being Hired to Invent
        1. Prior inventions
        2. Invention declarations
        3. Later inventions
      3. Fiduciary Duties
    5. Tell the Company
      1. Communication and the PIA
      2. Communication Gone Wrong
    6. What Do You Do?
      1. First, Read What You Sign
      2. Tell Your Employer About Your Project
      3. Tell Your Employer About Your Project Early
      4. Tell Your Employer About Your Open Source Projects
      5. Finally, Tell Your Employer in Writing
  12. 10. Choosing a License
    1. Why Do I Need a License?
      1. Licenses and Communities
    2. No License Required
      1. Public Domain Dedications
      2. Moral Rights
    3. Proprietary Commercial Licensing
    4. Open Source Licensing
      1. Academic Licenses
      2. Permissive Licenses
      3. Partially Closable Licenses
      4. Reciprocal Licenses
      5. License Compatibility
    5. Why You Should Not Write Your Own License
      1. You Limit Your Community
      2. Your Code Will Not be Open Source (or Free Software)
      3. You Will Probably Get it Wrong
        1. The Artistic License and JMRI
    6. Choosing an Open Source License
      1. Joining an Existing Community
      2. Licensing Your Own Work
        1. Recommended licenses
        2. The BSD License
        3. The Apache License v2.0 (Apache)
        4. The Mozilla Public License (MPL)
        5. The Lesser/Library GPL (LGPL)
        6. The GNU GPL
        7. The GPL version 3 (GPLv3)
        8. The Open Software License (OSL)
  13. 11. Accepting Patches and Contributions
    1. Back to (Copyright) Basics
      1. Rules for Works
        1. Patch length
        2. Patch context
        3. Code ideas
      2. Owner of a Lonely Patch
        1. The open source amalgam
    2. Three Solutions
      1. Open Source Licensed Contributions
      2. Contributor License Agreements
      3. Corporate Contributor License Agreements
      4. Copyright Assignment Forms
        1. Unified legal control
        2. Simplified relicensing
        3. Commercial licensing
    3. Administrative Issues
      1. Keep Track of Contributors
      2. Require Agreements Before Giving Commit Privileges
      3. Make Sure Agreements Are Signed
  14. 12. Working with the GPL
    1. Daily Life with the GPL
      1. The Usual Suspects
        1. Distributing GPL-licensed code
        2. Avoiding GPL-licensed code
        3. Running GPL-licensed code
        4. Distributions of independent programs
      2. Persistent Questions
    2. Understanding the Terms of the Debate
      1. Derivative Works
      2. Collective Works
      3. Functional Language
    3. Linking and Licensing
    4. Copyright Confusion
      1. From the FAQ
      2. The Darth Vader Scale of Derivative Works
    5. Thinking About Derivative Works
      1. Header Files
      2. Other Types of Linking
      3. Functional and Expressive Language
    6. Questions and Answers
      1. Norms and Law
  15. 13. Reverse Engineering
    1. Storming the Castle
      1. IBM and the PC BIOS
        1. Poisoning the well
      2. Atari v. Nintendo
        1. Fair and unfair use
      3. Sega v. Accolade
        1. Clean room procedures
      4. Cadence v. Avant!
      5. NEC v. Intel
        1. Minor changes and thin copyrights
        2. Bug compatibility
        3. Recordkeeping and overall similarity
    2. A Sample Reverse Engineering Procedure
      1. Legal Definition
        1. White box and black box reverse engineering
      2. Methodology
      3. Step 1: Creating Teams
      4. Step 2: Creating a Specification
        1. Using public documentation
        2. Decompiling software
        3. Keeping the specification clean
      5. Step 3: Reviewing the Specification
      6. Step 4: Developing New Code
      7. Step 5: Testing the New Software
      8. Step 6: Evaluating the New Software
      9. Test-Driven Development
    3. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
      1. The DMCA and Digital Rights Management
      2. The DMCA and Reverse Engineering
  16. 14. Incorporating As a Non-Profit
    1. Why Incorporate Your Project?
      1. Accepting Corporate Help
      2. Holding Intellectual Property
      3. Legal Protection
      4. Project Continuity and Transfer of Ownership
    2. Creating a Non-Profit Entity
      1. Choosing a State
        1. About Delaware
      2. Formation Documents
        1. Articles of incorporation
        2. Bylaws
      3. Tax-Exempt Status
      4. Getting Registered
    3. Operating a Non-Profit Organization
      1. Doing Your Best
      2. Holding Meetings
      3. Keeping Notes
        1. Minutes
        2. Financial records
      4. Receiving Money
        1. The public support test
        2. Related and unrelated income
        3. Commingling funds
      5. Spending Money
        1. Lobbying prohibited
        2. Excess benefits
      6. Providing Reports
    4. Umbrella Organizations As an Alternative
  17. A. Sample Proprietary Information Agreement (PIA)
    1. Proprietary Information and Inventions Assignment Agreement
  18. B. Open Source License List
    1. Open Source Licenses
      1. Licenses That Are Popular and Widely Used or with Strong Communities
      2. Special Purpose Licenses
      3. Other/Miscellaneous Licenses
      4. Licenses That Are Redundant with More Popular Licenses
      5. Non-reusable Licenses
      6. Superseded Licenses
      7. Licenses That Have Been Voluntarily Retired
      8. Uncategorized Licenses
  19. C. Free Software License List
    1. Free Software Licenses
      1. The GPL-Compatible Free Software Licenses
      2. GPL-Incompatible Free Software Licenses
  20. D. Fedora License List and GPL Compatibility
    1. Licenses Approved for Use with Fedora
    2. GPL Compatibility Matrix
  21. E. Public Domain Declaration
  22. F. The Simplified BSD License
    1. The BSD License
  23. G. The Apache License, Version 2.0
  24. H. The Mozilla Public License, Version 1.1
    1. 1. Definitions
    2. 2. Source Code License
      1. 2.1. The Initial Developer Grant
      2. 2.2. Contributor Grant
    3. 3. Distribution Obligations
      1. 3.1. Application of License
      2. 3.2. Availability of Source Code
      3. 3.3. Description of Modifications
      4. 3.4. Intellectual Property Matters
      5. 3.5. Required Notices
      6. 3.6. Distribution of Executable Versions
      7. 3.7. Larger Works
    4. 4. Inability to Comply Due to Statute or Regulation
    5. 5. Application of this License
    6. 6. Versions of the License
      1. 6.1. New Versions
      2. 6.2. Effect of New Versions
      3. 6.3. Derivative Works
    7. 7. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY
    8. 8. Termination
    9. 9. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
    10. 10. U.S. Government End Users
    11. 11. MISCELLANEOUS
    12. 12. Responsibility for Claims
    13. 14. Multiple-Licensed Code
    14. Applying the Mozilla Public License
  25. I. The GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 2.1
    1. The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), Version 2.1
      1. Preamble
      2. TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION
      3. NO WARRANTY
      4. How to Apply These Terms to Your New Libraries
  26. J. The GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 3
    1. The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), Version 3
      1. 0. Additional Definitions
      2. 1. Exception to Section 3 of the GNU GPL
      3. 2. Conveying Modified Versions
      4. 3. Object Code Incorporating Material from Library Header Files
      5. 4. Combined Works
      6. 5. Combined Libraries
      7. 6. Revised Versions of the GNU Lesser General Public License
  27. K. The GNU General Public License, Version 2, June 1991
    1. The GNU General Public License (GPL), Version 2
      1. Preamble
      2. TERMS AND CONDITIONS
      3. NO WARRANTY
      4. How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs
  28. L. The GNU General Public License, Version 3, June 2007
    1. The GNU General Public License (GPL), Version 3
      1. Preamble
      2. TERMS AND CONDITIONS
      3. How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs
  29. M. The Open Software License, Version 3.0
    1. The Open Software License (OSL), Version 3.0
  30. Index
  31. About the Author
  32. Colophon
  33. Special Upgrade Offer
  34. Copyright