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MochaSoft is computer software that is internet-friendly. Specifically, it is an application that allows users to integrate different kinds of applications on its platforms. It has become popular since it catered different programming languages to connect with one another that resolves the problems of the users in communicating. In other words, two users with different software languages can communicate by means of MochaSoft. The said software enables to perform such tasks by creating a "virtual computer" that operates on device or gadget. Undoubtedly, this has made the said software quite popular and in demand. It is easy to use, practical, efficient, and therefore, marketable and profitable. However, some pressing issues should be critically analyzed and resolved by the company in order to be successful in the said objectives.
The Issue of Licensing and Confidentiality Agreement
The first issue that Mocha has to resolve is its issuance of a legal protection to its users about "licensing and confidentiality agreement." The said warning states that the Mocha program can be copied by the users but they have to agree that it is just in the experimental and early stage that makes it confidential. The company would grant license to the users who agreed to the said terms and conditions and if not, the license is terminated.
In this condition, certainly MochaSoft has inconsistencies. While the company intends to profit from the software by allowing it to be used or copy the Mocha program, the company also wants to maintain its confidentiality. If the company wants to profit from the program, it has to allow users to copy it through licensing and remove the confidentiality agreement. Definitely, there is contradiction between distributing the Mocha program while limiting its distribution by means of confidentiality agreement.
For one thing, from the point of the view of the users, the confidentiality agreement would compel them not to share the software to others, which in effect, would defeat the purpose of the company of profiting from it. Apparently, the main objective of developing any software or program to be distributed through the Internet is to earn income. The users would buy the software to be downloaded on their units, which leads to profitability to the company.
The most reasonable solution for the said dilemma is not to make the distribution of the Mocha program confidential. In doing so, the company has to remove the confidentiality agreement but retain the statement that the program is still in the experimental and early stage. This would allow the users to share the information and efficiency of the software with other users with the warning that it is still on the trial stage. In effect, the users would view the program not as a sham. In contrast, making the program confidential especially if it is put in a legal context would create a bad impression on the company. Anyway, the World Wide Web is too vast and free that making any program confidential would be impossible.
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The Patent Problem
The second issue that Mocha has to confront is the patent problem. As mentioned in the fact pattern, a certain programmer named Denise Processor (DP), is threatening to sue the company. In 1987, the said programmer received its patent with the program with same concept as the Mocha. For that matter, Mocha can counter the legal claim of DP since there are existing high level languages that are circulating the Internet with said same concept. The company have the legal rights to claim its MochaSoft because of various reasons.
First and foremost, under the Copyright Law, ideas or concepts are not owned by the owner. Anything that a person creates in terms of music, books, pictures or computer programs shall be owned by through a patent copyright. However, it is the expression, not the actual idea or statement that is being owned by the person and protected by the said law. It only implies that the creator can imitate the pattern put forward by another owner of a song, program or book but not copying exactly the piece of work. In short, ideas can’t owned by anybody but the how the ideas are expressed or put into output that is being patented or copyrighted. The means or manner from which the ideas are expressed in the forms videos, computer programs etc. are the ones that are being regulated by the copyright law.
The first principle that the copyright law has to enforce is that the piece of work has to be original. This would imply that the expression, let us say, painting, photos, or the like, would have to be captured or created from the original point of view of the artists. The piece of work should not be copied from another. Secondly, the idea should be coursed through a concrete expression or way. Examples of these are books, photos, or computer applications. If the creator only maintain his/her idea in his/her mind, then the idea can’t be protected by the copyright law. Now, if almost all, if not all, of the elements have been copied by another, then the copyright law is enforced. Original creators are only the authorized people who can share or allow the reproduction of their piece of work. Other people can’t reproduce or sell the piece of work without the proper authorization of the creators.
In the case of the MochaSoft, it is definite that DP doesn’t own the software. But, the concept of the MochaSoft is slightly similar with the DP software. The Mocha software allows programmers to incorporate various Apps designed to search a common database. On the other hand, DP’s software concentrates on the compiler. The compiler in MochaSoft is merely a part of the whole program but not the overall commodity that is being distributed through the Internet. In a worse scenario, DP and Mocha have the same concepts but their products are different, which clarifies the patent issues in favor of the latter. Thus, Mocha can apply for a patent for its software without worrying about the threat to sue of DP.
On the part of Cyril G. “Sy” Burr, the company can sue this former programmer who stole confidential information and is threatening to use it against the company. There has been a report that Sy discovered a data breach while in the Mocha Company. Through its stolen information, Sy gave it to its competitor DirtyData (DD). The DD is aiming to formulate a software named Cappuccino to compete with Mocha Grande of Mocha. If this strategy of DD would be executed, Mocha can use the concrete evidence to sue the programmer and DD for a data breach. The company has to prove that there are prevailing evidences that the vital information from the company has been stolen and used by DD for its own strategy. Certainly, Mocha can apply for its patent in order to come up with other products in relation to its original concepts. If Mocha would be able to receive its own patent, then anything that relates to its operation and products such as logo, pictures, slogan, etc. would be protected by the copyright law.
The Expiration of the Copyright of the MochaSoft
In terms of the last concern regarding the expiration of the MochaSoft, which was created in 1977, the copyright of the company would not be forfeited but the program would enter the public domain. The Mocha program itself is composed of many subprograms and one of these was copyrighted by a programmer named Carl Compiler (CC) in 1977. This vital program would expire in approximately year 2033. This is so because under the copyright law, the license of a computer software would expire after 70 years after it was published or released.
This only means that the software would be transferred to a public domain, as mentioned above. A public domain pertain to the creative materials that would not be within the scope of intellectual property laws. The creative materials can be utilized by the public and no longer be owned by an author, corporation or artist. Anybody can utilize the creative material freely even without the consent of the original owner. Though that is the case, nobody can own the material but anybody can use it. Also, not all can be copied by the public, there are certain portions or parts that can be protected by the copyright laws. More importantly, the private users can only copy the material but they are not allowed to sell it or profit from it.
Mocha should also be reminded that there several ways that the creative material would fall into the public domain. First, the copyright has expired, which was mentioned above. Secondly, the copyright owner was not able to comply with copyright renewal rules. Thirdly, the owner intentionally put the material into the public domain for sharing purposes. According to these conditions, Mocha’s program would no longer be protected by the copyright laws. In that context, Mocha should apply for renewal if it intends to continue owning the program. It should not deliberately place the program into the public domain if it wishes to continue profiting from it. Obviously, time will come that it would be placed in the public domain but before that happens, Mocha should develop more programs in connection to it.