Technology: Blurry Software License Results in Failed Claim and More

As a computer programmer, I know that if I write a computer program, all it takes is one character (e.g., an alphanumeric character or symbol) to be out of place or incorrect to cause the program to fail. While such level of exactitude may not be necessary for drafting some contracts, when drafting software licenses that divide up certain copyright rights, it is important that the contract accurately and adequately define the scope of those rights.

Likewise, when litigating software license agreements, it is important to understand the boundaries of the grant of license rights in these agreements before filing a claim. This is particularly true when there are allegations of copyright infringement in which the federal copyright statute (17 U.S.C. ?101 et seq.) provides for award of attorney fees to the "prevailing party" in some cases.

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Alan Wernick

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