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Software and Internet related issues are hot topics in the computer law area. Attorneys from the MVS Computer Law group are well versed in this area and frequently speak to other lawyers and businesspersons on a variety of these subjects.John Goodhue recently gave two presentations at a seminar sponsored by the National Business Institute; one entitled ‘Defamation and Privacy on the Internet,’ the other ‘Electronic Commerce.’ Goodhue and Jeff Harty will each be speaking at the Iowa State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Seminar in June on Internet and copyright issues.Much publicity exists over the option of patenting software-related innovations. Patents can protect the general concept of the software, but it’s important not to overlook copyrights as another form of protection. Copyrights can’t protect the general idea of the software, but can protect against others copying how the ideas of the software are implemented intangible forms; (i.e., make it unlawful to copy the source code). Copyright protection can also be pursued for the instructions and documentation associated with software. Screen displays or graphical designs generated by the software can also be copyrighted.Absent some compelling reason (i.e., desire to keep the code a trade secret), the low cost, deterrent effect, and protection of copyrights usually make it a relatively inexpensive, easy, and valuable form of protection. Patent and copyright protection should at least be considered and can often coexist in the same software.If you have a need you think the MVS Computer Law group might be able to help you with, please contact Mark Hansing at 515-288-3667.

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