[SIGCIS-Members] History of intellectual property in computing?

Laine Nooney laine.nooney at gmail.com
Thu Oct 27 11:09:00 PDT 2016


I believe much of the extensive litigation Ralph Baer took against Nolan
Bushnell and his Pong machine (and other copycat games) is hashed over in
Baer's book *Videogames*: *In the Beginning*.

Related, there's also the 1981 Atari vs. Ken Williams lawsuit, which set
the legal precedent that digital game mechanics cannot be copywritten.
There's no academic work on this (yet!) but drop me an email if you want
what documentation I have (there's a wikilaw summary here
<http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Atari_v._Williams>).

On Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 1:54 PM Hansen Hsu <hansnhsu at gmail.com> wrote:

> Also, although it’s not history of computing per se, Tarleton Gillespie’s *Wired
> Shut* deals with issues around piracy of MP3s and DVDs, DMCA, Napster,
> the rise of DRM, etc.
> The specific case studies he discusses are now over a decade old and so
> could be considered recent history.
>
> Gillespie, Tarleton. 2007. *Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of
> Digital Culture*. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
>
> On Oct 27, 2016, at 10:46 AM, Hansen Hsu <hansnhsu at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> +1, these are great articles.
>
> I’d like to add that Tom Haigh’s new book, *ENIAC in Action*, has
> sections discussing *Honeywell vs Sperry Rand*, the grandaddy of
> computing IP cases. (Summary on pp. 265-267)
>
> Also, Tom Misa has a book chapter which I recall argues that making the IP
> of the transistor widely available was crucial to the spread of the
> technology. (AT&T was required to do this as a regulated monopoly.)
> Misa, Thomas J. 1985. “Military Needs, Commercial Realities, and the
> Development of the Transistor, 1948-1958.” In *Military Enterprise and
> Technological Change: Perspectives on the American Experience*, edited by
> Merritt Roe Smith. Cambridge  Mass.: MIT Press.
>
> Both are foundational pieces of intellectual property for the computer
> industry, which would have been greatly restricted without these IP being
> opened up.
>
> Although neither is a primary source, I’m sure you can find primary
> sources referenced in the footnotes.
>
> -Hansen
>
> On Oct 27, 2016, at 10:21 AM, Ensmenger, Nathan <nensmeng at indiana.edu>
> wrote:
>
> Bill —  I will be very interested to follow the responses you receive to
> your question, which is interesting and complicated and very much still in
> development within the history of computing literature.
>
> Just a quick response of my own, however.
>
> In the past year the Annals of the History of Computing has published two
> pieces by Gerardo Con Diaz on intellectual property in software that I
> believe are going to open up the scholarship on this topic.  They are:
>
> Gerardo Con Diaz, "Embodied Software: Patents and the History of Software
> Development, 1946-1970", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing vol. 37
> no. 3, p. 8-19, July-Sept., 2015
> https://www.computer.org/csdl/mags/an/2015/03/man2015030008-abs.html
>
> and
>
> Gerardo Con Diaz, "Contested Ontologies of Software: The Story of
> Gottschalk v. Benson, 1963-1972", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
> vol. 38 no. 1, p. 23-33, Jan.-Mar., 2016
> https://www.computer.org/csdl/mags/an/2016/01/man2016010023.html
>
> I also have a running list of IP related literature that I don’t have
> access to at the moment but will send along.
>
> In the meantime, there is one recent addition to this literature that,
> although it does not deal specifically with computing, does illustrate the
> value of incorporating legal history into the study of information
> technology more generally, and that is
>
> Beauchamp, Christopher. Invented by Law: Alexander Graham Bell and the
> Patent That Changed America, Harvard University Press, 2015.
> http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674368064
>
>
> -Nathan
>
> ---
> Nathan Ensmenger
> Associate Professor of Informatics
> School of Informatics and Computing
> Indiana University, Bloomington
> homes.soic.indiana.edu/nensmeng/
>
>
>
>
>
> On Oct 27, 2016, at 10:25 AM, McMillan, William W <
> william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu> wrote:
>
> Greetings, SIGCIS.
>
> I'm looking for historical sources on the development of intellectual
> property principles and practices to use in a graduate computer science
> class.
>
> Of course, there is plenty of information on IP in IT and the history of
> IP in general, but I would like to find sources that tell a story across
> the development of computing in particular and relate it to other factors
> in technology and society.
>
> Also, any syllabus examples or suggestions would be very welcome.
>
> Thanks,
> Bill
>
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-- 
Laine Nooney
www.lainenooney.com

DM <http://dm.lmc.gatech.edu/> @ LMC <http://lmc.gatech.edu/> @ GT
<http://www.gatech.edu/>
Assistant Professor
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