You webmaster reads a lot of legal opinions from the courts of Canada, the US primarily. The case of Megaupload goes back to the .COM bubble period. More recently there have been some US rulings which seemed to be well thought out.
A known copyright troll who used to sue homebuilders over allegedly copying their home designs was eventually heard by the superior courts. The court held that the copyright was thin at best and ruled that there is only so many ways the layout the rooms in a house. The court also held that variations hight, width and trim allowed for some variation on a core idea. The additional variations were held by the court to be distinct enough. So the court ruled against the troll and the defendant was found not liable for infringement. The court also ordered the troll to pay costs.
The court really touched the concept of an idea. The court explained the a basic idea cannot be copyrighted, there had to be more. These became clear as the court cited earlier rulings. So given a kitchen and a dining room are adjacent becomes an idea which cannot be copyrightable. The court also held that the garage ws also not copyrightable. So the concept of copyright was so clearly expressed by the court that it is something everyone should learn from. The concepts show how in everyday life there are ideas that cannot be copyrighted.
An idea such as PC keyboard is a good example of an idea that cannot be broadly patented or copyrighted. Still there is enough distinction the keyboard is generic enough that it likely would be dismissed for patent and copyright claims. LED keyboards are now common and agaIn this is too obvious.
Now that a review of copyright can be closed with this article. The text is copyrighted as I type it under Canadian law. This post is not many paragraphs as commently on a 50 page judicial ruling was brief to touch on the most basic ideas. The point is the US patent office simply takes a person’s money and then they fend for themselves in court.
The fight between Apple and Microsoft over Windows and the mouse. The court held that, “Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor [under copyright law]”. This court citation has long been used to consider ideas as generic but Apple and Microsoft have specifics. The lawsuit was filed in 1988 and lasted four years; the decision was affirmed on appeal in 1994.
Eventually Apple and Microsoft entered into a several negotiated agreements including a $150 million cash investment into Apple and Microsoft also agreed to provide Office for the OS X operating system. A few few years later Apple introduced the iPod and revolutionized the music industry.
So returning back to ideas. Apple was not the first MP3 player. Their player was better than existing models which won market approval.