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les Nouvelles - June 2008


Copyright And Open Source Licensing Of Software Work

Pratibha Gupta

Lawyer, Jind (HRY), India

Copyright law does not protect any particular idea. Rather, copyright protects only the expression of that idea. Limitation to the expressions of an idea is the principal distinction between the applications of patent and copyright. Unlike copyright, a valid patent does not protect the expression of an idea but the underlying substance of it. For example, a patent applicable to a microchip protects not the expression of the chip itself, or the electrical diagram describing it, but the idea that given circuits can be organized and made to operate in a particular way. Because of their potentially vast scope, patents are construed more strictly, require a registration process, and last for shorter periods than copyrights.

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