FOCUS: Intellectual Property Rights and Computer Software

John Weckert

"It is much more difficult than is often admitted to make a strong case for the ownership of computer software." This closely argued study of the strengths and weaknesses of the case for intellectual property rights and against software piracy is based on material contained in the author's joint work with Douglas Adeney, Computer and Information Ethics, Greenwood Press, an imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, INC., Westport, CT, forthcoming May, 1997. The author is a member of the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, PO Box 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650 Australia; tel 61 69 33 2372; fax 61 69 33 2733; email
He wishes to acknowledge the contribution to this paper of Douglas Adeney of the University of Melbourne.

T he unauthorised copying of computer software is generally considered to be theft and therefore morally wrong.1 Even just a casual browse through the literature on computer ethics shows that this is the presumption of most discussions of the issue. These discussions tend to focus on the damage caused by this activity and on ways, either legal or technical, to make it more difficult. Rarely is the claim that it is wrong examined, although it is questioned by some not in the mainstream of the computer industry. In this paper it will be argued that it is not at all as obvious as is commonly assumed that unauthorised software copying is morally wrong (except insofar as it is morally wrong to act illegally).

That we have a moral right to own things is a generally unquestioned assumption. It is taken for granted that cars, houses, television sets, computers and so on can be owned. In order to set the scene for an examination of computer software, we will begin by briefly considering the arguments for ownership of tangible property, and then move on to the more intangible intellectual variety, of which software is one type.

Tangible Property

Why do we think that private property is justified and a good thing? Probably the most famous justification of property in general comes from John Locke2 who argued that if one "mixed one's labour" with something then one had a legitimate claim to it. He did, it must be said, place some restrictions on the right to appropriation. There had to be, for example, enough and as good left for others. The basic thrust of this justification of property is that if I construct a shed, it is mine because my labour is mixed with it. A part of me is in the shed. The main weakness of this argument, as Nozick3 points out, is that it is not obvious why we should gain what we mix our labour with, rather than simply losing our labour. If I poured a can of tomato juice, which I owned, into the sea, clearly I would not thereby own the sea. I would merely become juiceless.

Another argument frequently used today is the utilitarian one that private ownership is necessary as an incentive to work. This dates back to David Hume, who argued that a person's creations should be owned by him or her to encourage "useful habits and accomplishments." This is the argument most often appealed to in support of intellectual property, and in particular, computer software.

A third justification is based on desert. A producer or creator deserves reward for his or her production or creation. If I create something I deserve something in return for my effort. Nothing follows necessarily of course about ownership, but ownership is often thought to be a just reward. It might in some cases be a just reward, but it is not the only one and perhaps not the best one or the one that the creator wants. The creator may prefer gratitude or recognition to ownership.4

Intellectual Property

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights says in Article 27 (2) that "Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific literary or artistic production of which he is the author."5 The ACM Code of Ethics also endorses the right to intellectual property. It states that a member will "Honour property rights including copyrights and patents".6 No justification is given by either as to why there are intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property is interestingly different from other property in at least three ways. First, owning an idea, or something abstract, is not simply like owning a physical object. Ownership of a physical object involves the right to continued use and enjoyment of it; if it is a car, for instance, and I take it from you, my theft of it consists in my violation of that right, because you are no longer able to have that use and enjoyment. Taking intangible things like ideas however, does not exclude their use and enjoyment by the owner. I can take your software by copying it, and we both can use and enjoy it. Intellectual property is non-exclusive. (Strictly speaking, it is expressions or implementations of ideas which are protected by law, and not the ideas themselves. Without wanting to argue the point here, I have some reservations about this distinction, but fortunately the argument of this paper does not depend on it.)

A second interesting aspect of intellectual property is in what sense or to what extent is an idea mine? If I build or buy a shed, I know what is mine. If I either provide all of the labour and materials, or pay for everything myself, it is my shed, other things being equal. But an idea is not like this, even if the article, painting or software which is its manifestation, was written or painted by me. Ideas come from anywhere, and probably any idea that we have is not ours alone. Most of my ideas come from someone else. At best, when I am "original", I express an idea in a new way, I see associations between ideas not noticed before, I see the relevance of an idea in some situation or I combine ideas in a new way. While these can all be significant, in all of them anything creative that I achieve is the adding of something to preexisting ideas which I have obtained from others. So to what extent is the new idea really mine? Given that I contributed only a little, why should I claim ownership? If I contribute a little to your shed, perhaps I can claim that I own a little, morally anyway, but certainly not that I own the whole building. Similarly, if I write a paper, most of the ideas will have come from elsewhere (most of the ideas in this paper came from elsewhere), so why should I be able to claim sole ownership?

A third difference is the distinction which can be drawn between moral rights and commodity rights to intellectual property. In this context a moral right is the right to acknowledgement as the author or creator. A commodity right is the right to sell or otherwise profit financially from the property qua a commodity. It is one thing to say that we deserve to be acknowledged as an author or creator of something we have produced. It is quite another to maintain that we should have the right to control its access to others.

What then is involved in the ownership of intellectual property such as computer software? If you create software and I steal it by copying it onto my disk or into my area of the computer, you still have it. What I now have is simply a copy of what you still have. This, as already seen, is an important difference between intellectual property and other property. Intellectual property rights do not grant exclusive use and enjoyment of that owned. They are concerned more with control of who can use and enjoy the property, and who gets acknowledgement and financial reward from that use and enjoyment. So the main issue is not taking something from the owner or creator and thereby depriving him or her of access to it. The main issue is copying.

What is wrong with the unauthorised copying of the work of another? One answer is simply that it is an infringement of ownership rights. While this violation of rights might be spelt out in terms which have nothing to do with consequences, say in a Lockean manner, more typically it would be cashed in terms of harm or potential harm to the owner. The owner loses in some way as a result of the copying, just as owners lose in normal theft. Copying is seen as a kind of theft; the theft of an idea. We will first consider grounds for intellectual property which are not utilitarian (that is, not based on harm or incentive), and then look at those which are.

Is there anything wrong with copying where no harm is involved, for example the copying of material that one would never buy? Here the owner is not harmed. There is no financial loss because there was no question of the text or software being purchased. The owner may in fact benefit, given that he or she gets more exposure. But we are still reluctant perhaps to say that this copying is moral. Why? We might try a Lockean justification and say that the owner has rights simply because his or her labour was put into the original. So if anyone copies the work without permission, they are violating his or her rights. Whether copying is moral or not has nothing to do with consequences. It is immoral even if the consequences are good.

While this type of justification is not universally accepted, it is prima facie a reasonable account of why we have intellectual property rights. There is always enough and as good left over for others. It does of course have the problem mentioned in the general discussion of property, that is, why do we gain that with which we mix our labour? An alternative justification is that the creator just deserves some reward for having an idea and developing it. This has some intuitive appeal, but it does not justify ownership. There are many ways in which one could be rewarded for creating or producing something without being given ownership over it. One could be paid in money, or given a long holiday!

Both of these justifications appear stronger if moral rights and not commodity rights are considered. It seems more plausible to argue that I have a moral right to what I have created, or that I deserve recognition as the creator, than it does to argue that I own the creation.

Now the utilitarian argument. An owner of intellectual property is deemed to lose if the property is copied, in terms of the ability to sell the idea or perhaps in terms of prestige or promotion. If I have a good idea, paint a good picture, take an interesting photograph, or develop good and novel software, I want people to know that it is mine, and so, perhaps, gain in one or more of the ways just mentioned. If copying were freely allowed, there would be no money to be made, and profits must be available or nobody will make the effort to develop their ideas. Or at least that is the idea. So the issue is essentially one of harm, both to the individual owner, and to the society in general. Again of course, the moral/commodity right distinction is important. Some of the issues, like prestige and promotion, can be addressed by safeguarding moral rights alone.

Before commenting further on this, we will consider the question in another way; when might it be legitimate to copy the work of another without explicit permission? At one end of the spectrum lies the case where a work is copied and passed off as the work of another, for commercial gain. At the other end it might be the scanning of an image from a magazine solely for the purposes of experimenting with morphing. Or it might be using "clip art" to create a new image or copying software purely to see how it works, with the intention of buying if it is suitable. What are the main differences between the two ends of the spectrum? (What I have placed at the legitimate end is not uncontroversially legitimate.) In the first, the copier gains financially at the expense of the owner, and there is deceit involved. In the second case, no financial gain is made from the copying, or if there is, none which affects the owner of the work. And no deceit is involved. The copier can quite happily acknowledge the source of the work or software if the need arises. Perhaps in some cases like this, "fair use" will apply. At the illegitimate end of the spectrum harm, particularly financial, is again seen to be an issue, and so is deceit.

Financial harm caused to the owner is at least one reason, then, why copying is wrong. But it is not so simple. That harming anyone unnecessarily and intentionally, either physically or emotionally, is unethical, is generally accepted. But harming someone financially is not so obviously wrong, even though theft and robbery are not usually considered to be desirable activities. The possibility of financial harm, in fact, is built into the free market system. It is frequently argued that having a free market is better overall than not having one, even though some people will suffer. So harming someone financially in itself is not generally considered unethical. But financial harm does play a part in the argument, as we saw a moment ago. The generation of new ideas is necessary for a society to prosper. It can be time-consuming and costly to generate and develop ideas, so there must be reward for those who do. If there is not, nobody will bother to create. And the most important reward is financial. Without financial reward, society's supply of new ideas will dry up. Therefore there must be some system of copyright and patent regulations which protect intellectual property. So one argument against copying, then, from the perspective of harm, is the harm caused to society at large if there were no restrictions on the practice.

It could be argued, on the other side of the ledger, that if ideas were all in the public domain, and if anyone could work on and develop anything, regardless of where the idea originated, we would all be better off because more would be developed. That the source of new and innovative ideas would dry up without copyright and patent laws to facilitate financial reward is little more than an article of faith. Artists, academics and scientists frequently create without such reward. Perhaps acknowledgement is enough. Or perhaps creation is its own reward. It must be pointed out that this is not an argument against moral rights to intellectual property, only against commodity rights.

The most that this discussion questions of course, is whether society in general suffers from copying of the work of others, not whether individuals will be harmed by having their works copied. This can certainly happen in our present social structure. This individual harm must be taken into account even if society as a whole would be better off with no restrictions on copying. But it is not an overriding consideration. As we have already noted, some individuals suffer in a free market economy, but the current wisdom is that such an economy is still better than its competitors.

Software Piracy

It has been estimated that software piracy costs United States software producers around $12 billion US annually.7 This financial loss is the most commonly cited reason for having strict laws on software copyright and patents.

Software piracy is often thought of as simply the unauthorised copying of computer software. But copying software is not all of a kind. It can mean a number of different things, including the copying of actual code, the copying of the "look and feel" of a program, and the copying of an algorithm. We will consider these in turn, in the light of our earlier discussion of property.

Copying software

First, by the copying of actual code, we are referring to the making of electronic copies of commercial computer software. We are not interested in one student copying another student's programming assignment. That is just cheating, and there is not much interesting to say about that. But even electronic copying of commercial software comes in a variety of forms, and not all of the moral issues are the same, or necessarily have the same answers. The main differences concern the use to be made of the copy. This might sound odd. After all, surely theft is wrong regardless of the use that is made of the stolen goods. But, as we have already seen, "stealing" intellectual property is a little different from stealing other property. If I "steal" your software by copying it, I am not depriving you of its use. If I steal your car, I am.

Before considering the rightness or wrongness of unauthorised copying of software, we will look at some of the various uses made of the copies, going from the least to the most controversial. (a) The first case concerns copying purely for testing, with the intention of buying if it proves to be satisfactory. (b) A second case is that in which an individual copies, say, a game, which he would never bother buying, but thinks it worth having if free. Here the owner is almost certainly not harmed. No sale has been lost. (c) Finally there is copying where the software is to be used for commercial gain, and where, if it could not be copied, it would be purchased. In this case the owner is certainly harmed.

There are obviously variations on these cases. For example, a group of students might share the cost of the software, and make copies, in a situation where they cannot afford to buy individual copies. Or again, a university might copy some software that it requires for teaching, because it cannot afford the payment that the owner wants for multiple copies. (No university in its right mind would do this of course, even if for legal reasons alone.) We will now look at the above three cases in more detail.

(a) The first case definitely seems not to be immoral, even if it is illegal. If I copy software purely for testing it, with the intention of buying if it satisfies my needs, I would be doing the owner a good turn. Buying without testing in most cases is just silly. Testing a copy is saving the owner the expense of providing me with a special copy for testing, a service provided by some. The owner has nothing to lose and something to gain by this activity of unauthorised copying for testing. There is perhaps a risk that I will keep the pirated copy rather than buying it, but if I do that then I fall foul of the harm principle. One way of avoiding any copyright problems here would be to allow this as an instance of fair use.8

(b) The second case, while normally condemned by the computer industry, almost certainly causes no harm at all. If someone copies software that they would never have bought, even if it were inexpensive, the owner suffers no loss. And perhaps more importantly, the "but what if everyone did this" objection carries no weight. If everyone who would never have bought the software copied it, the owner is still not harmed. Still no sales are lost. So no case can be made here that the copying is wrong on the grounds that it causes harm. The situation is different if we mean "everyone" to include those who otherwise would have bought it. In this case the owner is harmed, so there is a ground for condemning that copying. But if the former kind of copying is wrong, that is, where the software would not have been bought, then it must be on the grounds of something like the owner having the right to stop others from using his work, perhaps on the basis of desert. Pushing this line, however, makes the objection of the owner look a little petty. It amounts to saying that even though your using my work without payment is not doing me any harm at all, and is probably doing you some good, I do not want you to do so, "because it is mine". We would probably want to scold a child for behaving like this! There is also another, not implausible, argument, that the computer industry actually benefits from this type of copying. It might well be that more hardware is sold because software can be obtained at little or no cost. It is one thing for someone to invest in a computer; it is another for them to continually invest in software. It is surely better for the industry for people to invest in hardware and copy software than not even to buy the hardware. Those without hardware are certainly never going to buy any software. Forester and Morrison9 give figures to show how little software is sold for each personal computer sold. Their interpretation is that this reveals how much software companies are losing. An alternative interpretation is that it shows how good it is for hardware companies.10

(c) Finally, what about the third case, copying for commercial use? This does seem to be unjustifiable in general. It does deprive the owners of profit, and possibly harms them, although if they are very wealthy the harm may be minimal. It is arguable, of course, that the real harm would be to society in general if this practice were too widespread, because less new software would be created if profits were low. And profits made from software sales would be low if software were not bought.11 We saw earlier that the argument based on incentive is not always convincing, but it has some plausibility in this case. This is perhaps because in some ways software is more like a tool or a machine than like a novel, a work of art or a research or scholarly article. In those latter cases the creative act in itself is some reward. Perhaps this is less so in the case of developing software. The creative act is in the design. The development, which includes testing, is much more tedious.

It is worth, however, looking at this incentive argument a little more closely, because it is the main one used against copying software. The argument, to recapitulate, is that copying lowers profits, and with low profits there will be little or no incentive to develop new software, and hence society will be the loser. Therefore copying software is not a good thing. But is this really true?

First, the protection of intellectual property is a relatively new phenomenon. People did create and develop all sorts of things before there was any protection, so one might ask why could not this happen again? It is difficult to believe that painters only paint, musical composers only compose and writers only write because of the financial rewards. Academics, to name just one group, regularly produce scholarly and research works without any financial reward, and did this long before the "publish or perish" mentality was upon us. It is difficult to believe that all programmers only develop new software because of financial rewards. Some people genuinely like programming.

This leads to a second issue. Programmers need to eat, an obvious, but important, point made by Forester and Morrison.12 But this does not have much to do with the copying of software. Programmers can earn income by selling their services as well as by selling software. It might be objected here that we are concentrating on the wrong group, and that it is the companies which develop software who must be protected. They will not invest money in software development if there are no, or only small, profits to be made. There are two things to be said about this. One is that there are other ways that software companies can earn money. Dyson,13 for example, argues that with copying and distribution of software being so inexpensive and easy, it would be better if companies used the software to advertise other goods and services. The second point here is that it would not matter so much if companies did not invest large amounts in software development if copying were freely allowed. There would almost certainly be many more people working on modifying and improving software, so it is doubtful that society in general would lose.14

A third point, related to the issue of easy copying and distribution, is the high cost of preventing copying. Vast sums are spent on litigation. Admittedly, considerable amounts are also made when cases are won, but it is surely doubtful that spending resources on this sort of activity is good for the industry.15 A related point is that with this increasingly inexpensive copying and distribution it will become ever more difficult to curb unauthorised copying without draconian laws, or at least laws which inhibit creativity and development.

Given what has just been said, it is doubtful at best that society is better off because copying software is severely restricted. The case for copying has certainly not been proven, but that is really beside the point. The case against copying ought to be firmly established before restrictions are put in place. The burden of proof must be on those who want restrictions.

"Look and feel" copying

We turn now to a different case; copying the "look and feel" of a programme. Here it is primarily the look of the user interface, and perhaps the important functions of a programme, which are being copied. While the icons, the screen design and so on, may be identical, or nearly so, the code may be quite different. This does seem to be much like copying an idea of someone else, where the idea would normally be protected by a patent. Such "theft" does seem to be much like cheating, and, as such, perhaps ought to be condemned. The owner of the original product will quite likely be harmed if someone else develops similar software. There is no theft of code, but there is the taking of an idea. As well as harm to the owner, it could also be argued that without protection of "look and feel" there will also be broader harm. Creators would be less willing to spend time, effort and money on developing novel ideas if others can then develop similar products and so reduce the profits of the originators of ideas.

The situation, however, is different from that in which the code is copied. There the copying is achieved with little more than the pressing of a few keys or a few clicks of a mouse button. In the look and feel case, the programme must still be developed. It must be designed, programmed and tested. So the copier must invest time, effort and money into the project, perhaps as much as the originator. Another relevant point is that it is beneficial to computer users if different software packages have similar user interfaces. These make programmes "friendlier" and so easier to learn and use. Once one software package has been learnt, learning another is not too difficult. One has at least some idea of what to look for when learning something new. A third point is that if look and feel is protected, it will almost certainly slow down progress. So it would seem that the disadvantages of copying "look and feel" in the shape of disincentives to develop new products are more than outweighed by the advantages of having some standardisation and consistency among products. Again in this case, then, no very strong argument can be mounted for the immorality of copying on the grounds of harm and utility.

The basic objection to the copying of the look and feel of software seems to be that it is morally reprehensible to take someone else's idea and use it for commercial gain, thereby depriving him or her of income. (That the law may distinguish between ideas on the one hand, and their expressions or usable developments on the other, is largely irrelevant.) This principle, however, is applied very selectively. You might spend large amounts of time and money researching into the best place to build a restaurant. You build it and it is successful. I see your success and decide to build another across the road. I have more money than you, so mine is better, and in a short time I put you out of business. Here I have taken your idea and the fruits of your research and profited by them. This, of course, is quite reasonable in a capitalist system. It might be argued that this example is quite different from the software case. But it is not clear that it is in relevant aspects. In both cases effort and money have been invested in the development of an idea, and in both cases another party has profited from that investment.

Copying an algorithm

Finally, is there anything wrong with copying a programme algorithm? This issue is sometimes thought to revolve around the difference between discovery on the one hand and manufacture and creation on the other. The law reflects the view that we can, in some sense, own what we make or create, but not what we discover. As has been pointed out by Hettinger,16 it seems more plausible to say "I own it because I made it" than to say "I own it because I discovered it". There are exceptions, of course. Ownership of geographical territory has traditionally gone with discovery, where "discovery" is used in a very broad sense. But this is not generally applied. Discovering a law of nature does not give one ownership rights over it, and the same applies to mathematical formulae. Other cases are quite problematic. If I develop a recipe for a new drink, should I own that recipe? Did I create the new drink or did I discover it? In a sense I discovered it. All of the ingredients already existed. In another sense I created it, by combining those ingredients in a way not done before.

What has this to do with the right to own programme algorithms? If algorithms are like laws of nature or like mathematical formulae, then they are discovered and so not able to be owned, or so the argument might go. But they are really more like recipes, where the distinction between discovery and creation is much less clear. We certainly discover ways of doing things, and an algorithm is essentially a way of doing something, but there is also a sense in which we create or develop a way of doing things. What seems strange about claiming ownership for an algorithm is that it is saying that I should be the only person who is allowed to do something this way, or if anyone else does it this way, they ought to pay me, simply because I thought of it first. Perhaps a few people will spend less time and effort trying to find new ways of doing things if these new ways cannot be owned. But surely this will be far outweighed by the fact that when new methods are found, everyone will be able to benefit by using them, and perhaps in some cases further develop them themselves.

Patents for programme algorithms is perhaps the most controversial protections for software developers, on purely utilitarian grounds. There are a number of problems apart from those already mentioned. One is that if a new algorithm is discovered, its use will be restricted, regardless of its value to the community. The reply here will be that if it is valuable, people will be prepared to pay for it, but this leads to another problem. What if someone else, quite independently, discovers the same algorithm and uses it in a programme, oblivious to the fact that it has been patented? Is it really fair or just to make that person pay for the privilege of using something he or she discovered and developed? And perhaps more importantly, should a software developer need to spend time and money searching for patents every time they think of and use a new algorithm, just in case it has been patented? This situation will almost certainly harm everyone except a few who were lucky enough to get patent protection for their algorithms. It is very difficult to see how patent protection for algorithms could possibly assist innovation in software, and, in addition, it is unfair.17


We have considered arguments for intellectual property, and found that the justifications are not very strong; certainly not as strong as one would assume from popular discussions. Nothing much follows from the desert argument or the Lockean one for commodity rights, although both do give support to moral rights. In the case of software it is not obvious that society is better off because of copyright and patent laws. The argument based on harm and incentive contains a large portion of faith. The onus should be on those who want these laws to demonstrate clearly that society would be worse off without them. Given the low cost, ease and speed of copying, and the kinds of laws necessary to police them, and their possible consequences, this may not be easy. It is much more difficult than is often admitted to make a strong case for the ownership of computer software.●


  1. For a good discussion of legal issues and cases, see GALLER, Bernard A. Software and Intellectual Property Protection: Copyright and Patent Issues for Computer and Legal Professionals. Westport, CT: Quorum Books. 1995.
  2. LOCKE, John, Second Treatise of Government (1698). Edition of LASLETT, Peter (ed), John Locke, Two Treatises of Government. A Critical Edition with an Introduction and Apparatus Criticus. New York: New American Library. 1965.
  3. NOZICK, Robert, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Oxford: Blackwell, 1980. pp. 174±175.
  4. HETTINGER, Edwin C., "Justifying intellectual property", Philosophy and Public Affairs, 18 1989, pp. 40±43.
  5. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights", Human Rights Manual, Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1993, p. 141.
  6. ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. 1992, [1.5]. Retrieved via Netscape gopher:// ACM.ORG:70/00%5Bthe_files.constitution% 5Dbylaw17.txt
  7. See FORESTER, T. and MORRISON, P., Computer Ethics: Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995, p. 52, and BENTLY SYSTEMS, "Software piracy: what you should know", 1995, Retrieved via Netscape http://www.
  8. SAMUELSON, Pamela, "Computer programs and copyright's fair use doctrine", Communications of the ACM, 36 September 1993, pp. 19±25.
  9. FORESTER, T. and MORRISON, P., pp. 52±53.
  10. DEAD ADDICT, "In defence of piracy", 1996. Retrieved via Netscape daddict/piracy.html
  11. FORESTER, T. and MORRISON, P., (note 7), p. 71.
  12. FORESTER, T. and MORRISON, P., p. 67.
  13. See DYSON, Esther, "Intellectual value", 1995. Retrieved via Netscape http://www.nlc-bnc. ca/documents/infopol/copyright/dyson.htm, and ESLAVA, Carlos and Jaime NUBIOLA, "Hacia una transformacion de la responsabilidad en el mercaco del software: servicio frente a prodicto" ETHICOMP96, III International Conference Values and Social Responsibilities of the Computer Science, Madrid, November 1996. Proceedings Volume 1, pp. 175±180.
  14. See STALLMAN, Richard, "The GNU Manifesto", 1993. Free Software Foundation Inc. Retrieved via Netscape pub/gnu/GNUinfo/GnuManifesto. For an alternative approach to the perceived problem of software copying, see DAVIS, R., Pamela Samuelson, Mitchell Kapor and Jerome Reichman, "A new view of intellectual property and software", Communications of the ACM 39 March 1996, pp. 21±30.
  15. FORESTER, T. and MORRISON, P., Computer Ethics: Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995. p. 59.
  16. HETTINGER, Edwin C., (note 4), pp. 31±52.
  17. See SAMUELSON, Pamela, "Should program algorithms be patented?", Communications of the ACM, 33 August 1990, pp. 23±27, EPPERLY, Tom, "Against software patents", The League for Programming Freedom, February 28, 1991 (Updated 1994). Retrieved via Netscape %7Eepperly/patents.html GARFINKEL, Simson, "Patently absurd", 1994, Retrieved via Netscape http://www.nlc-bnc. ca/documents/infopol/copyright/gars1.htm