Copyright Infringement Requires A Lot More Than Vague Similarities

from the ain't-the-same dept

Michael Scott points us to a story about a lawsuit accusing Adobe of copyright infringement for its InDesign software product. The complaint was from a company called Brookhaven Typesetting Services. The judge sided with Adobe — and it isn’t difficult to see why. What is difficult is figuring out how or why Brookhaven thought it had a case. The company apparently had a page layout software product called K2 back in the early 90s. At some point, the company tried to license it to Aldus, who had a popular page layout software called PageMaker — including sending Aldus the source code. Aldus, of course, was eventually bought by Adobe, and Adobe eventually released InDesign as a replacement for PageMaker. So what’s the complaint? Well, when InDesign was in development, its code name was K2. So, yes, it was a similar page layout software, and the code name was the same as Brookhaven’s product name. So you could see where Brookhaven would be initially suspicious. But the problem was that there was no fire behind the smoke. A comparison of the two products’ source code showed no similarities whatsoever. The product was clearly entirely separate. Yet, once Brookhaven lost the case… it still appealed, only to have now lost again. For some reason, some people seem to think that any similarity at all is copyright infringement, but that’s simply not true.

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Companies: adobe, brookhaven typesetting services

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Comments on “Copyright Infringement Requires A Lot More Than Vague Similarities”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I believe the linked article, and the comments in this article, can easily be misconstrued and give the impression that this was an easy, slam-dunk copyright case resolved in Adobe’s favor. Even a cursory review of the court opinion reveals that the lawsuit was broader in scope and included claims under California state law.

While Adobe apparently prevailed by receiving a summary judgement, it would be inaccurate to say that BTS filed and prosecuted this case in an uninformed and misguided manner.

Trollificus says:

I always wonder...

…why people always wonder why companies sue so much.

If you ask your grocer if you should buy more groceries, he will say yes. If you ask your mechanic whether you should have extensive preventive maintenance done monthly, he will say yes. If you ask your drug dealer if you should get another baggie/balloon/whatever “for the road”, he will say yes.

Consult with your legal team as to whether you should undertake action that will increase their billable hours…

Not meaning to imply that any lawyer is ever less than perfectly ethical, of course.

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