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Vladimir Misic: 10 Professionalism and Ethics Ownership and Protection.

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Presentation on theme: "Vladimir Misic: 10 Professionalism and Ethics Ownership and Protection."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vladimir Misic: 10 Professionalism and Ethics Ownership and Protection

2 Vladimir Misic: 10 2 Ownership of Software Software represents the results of intellectual rather than purely physical efforts and is therefore inherently non-tangible. So who owns software?

3 Vladimir Misic: 10 3 Ownership of Software Software is referred to as intellectual property. –Some people argue that software is non-ownable. –Others argue in favor of ownership. Basic principle: A person has a right to what he or she produces. This right should be protected by law.

4 Vladimir Misic: 10 4 Ownership of Software Software is considered intangible because it may exist only in the memory of the programmer. –Copying software does not deprive the owner/originator of the software. –The owner/originator is potentially deprived if the ability to profit from the creation.

5 Vladimir Misic: 10 5 Arguments for Ownership Locke’s labor theory or property is used to defend that ownership of software exists. –A person acquires a right of ownership to something by mixing his or her labor with it. Society has determined that individuals have a right to profit by their works. This is a social right, rather than a natural one.

6 Vladimir Misic: 10 6 Arguments Against Ownership Some would contend that a series of mental operations is un-ownable. Since a program is the expression of a series of mental operations, it can not be owned. Thus, private ownership of software is, inherently, the ownership of mental operations and, as such, threatens the free exchange of ideas.

7 Vladimir Misic: 10 7 Ownership of Software Generally, it is held that the arguments against ownership are not compelling, and ownership of software is a generally accepted concept.

8 Vladimir Misic: 10 8 Protection of Intellectual Property The United States provides thee mechanisms to protect intellectual property: –Copyright –Trade Secret –Patents

9 Vladimir Misic: 10 9 Copyright Federal law governs copyrights. A copyright protects the author’s expression of ideas but not the idea itself. –The purpose is to permit the author to exercise control over the dissemination and reproduction of the author’s work. Software has been protected by copyright since A copyright protects against copying, but not independent development of the same idea.

10 Vladimir Misic: Copyright A copyright is not sufficient protection for software. –Copyright only protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. –A copyright can not keep someone from re- implementing the algorithms expressed in the software in another form.

11 Vladimir Misic: Trade Secret Governed by state law. Trade secrets provide a mechanism for a company to keep ideas secret. Trade secrets must: Be a novelty Represent an economic investment by the owner. Have involved some effort in development. Provide a value opportunity. The owner must show that effort has been made to keep the information secret.

12 Vladimir Misic: Trade Secret –If a secret becomes public through no illegal or illicit means, then it is no longer a secret and there is no remaining protection. –If someone illicitly obtains “secret” information and uses it, they can be sued.

13 Vladimir Misic: Trade Secrets It is unclear if trade secrets provide adequate protection for software. –Typically, companies require employees to sign non- disclosure agreements, and agree not to take copies of software with them when they leave. –Software is usually licensed to users rather than being sold to them. Such licenses allow the user to use the software but not to redistribute the software in any form.

14 Vladimir Misic: Trade Secrets Problem: –Software must be distributed in order to be useful. –Software must be present on a user user’s computer in order for that user to be able to run the software.

15 Vladimir Misic: Patents Patents are granted by the federal government. Granted for the invention or discovery of a new, useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of material. The purpose is to protect the embodiment of the idea.

16 Vladimir Misic: Patents Patents give the owner a monopoly on the use of an invention. Popular mean of software protection. Once the patent is granted, the product is protected against independent creation; thus eliminating the need for secrecy.

17 Vladimir Misic: Patents In order to be patentable, something must: –Fall within a permissible subject category. –Have utility, novelty, and be non-obvious to skilled practitioners in the appropriate area.

18 Vladimir Misic: Patents Patent laws insist that ideas, mathematical algorithms, scientific principles, phenomena of nature, and mental steps should not be patented since by giving exclusive right to use to any of the above would inhibit further invention.

19 Vladimir Misic: Patents It is generally felt that patents may be useful for protecting special-purpose software, but that general-purpose software may not be patentable. –In general it is difficult to patent software.

20 Vladimir Misic: Professionalism We as professionals are expected to conform to the technical and ethical standards established for our profession.

21 Vladimir Misic: ACM Code of Conduct Such standards are defined by: –The Association for Computing Machinery. (ACM) –The Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society. –These two societies have recently developed a joint code of conduct.

22 Vladimir Misic: ACM General Moral Imperatives 1) Contribute to society and human well-being. 2) Avoid harm to others. 3) Be honest and trustworthy. 4) Be fair and take action not to discriminate. 5) Honor property rights including copyrights and patent. 6) Give proper credit for intellectual property. 7) Respect the privacy of others. 8) Honor confidentiality. 9) Respect your professor 1) Contribute to society and human well-being. 2) Avoid harm to others. 3) Be honest and trustworthy. 4) Be fair and take action not to discriminate. 5) Honor property rights including copyrights and patent. 6) Give proper credit for intellectual property. 7) Respect the privacy of others. 8) Honor confidentiality. 9) Respect your professor !!! (no, not really ACM GMI)


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