September 14, 2001
The source code copyright fallacy
Author: JT Smith
Kelly McNeill writes "The concept of copyright is an artificial right created by the U.S. Constitution that does not exist in nature, although the legal concept exists in many laws and principles that predate the Constitution. Under U.S. copyright theory, to make something expressive is an act of craftsmanship and that craftmanship is rewarded with exclusive rights to the property that results. However, under the same theory, source code arguably should not be protected by copyright. There is a fallacy in the software business because what the creator creates and what the distributor distributes are two different things."