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

Ensmenger, Nathan nensmeng at indiana.edu
Thu Oct 27 10:21:36 PDT 2016

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


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

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.


Nathan Ensmenger 
Associate Professor of Informatics 
School of Informatics and Computing 
Indiana University, Bloomington 

> 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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