Company A was the manufacturer of a video game console, for which no documentation or instruction of any kind was available. Company B was a software company, which up to that point had been creating games for Company A’s competitors, and now wished to also develop games for Company A’s hardware. Company A wanted to keep their system exclusive, and therefore prevent other companies from developing software for their game console. Company B disassembled, reverse-engineered and re-implemented portions of Company A’s software and then released a software title for Company A’s console. Company A filed suit against Company B alleging violation of the Copyright Act. Company B argued that under 17 USCS §107, the disassembly constituted fair use. The court sided with Company B, ruling that as the purpose of the Copyright Act was to “encourage the production of creative works for the public good”, and Company B had used the only “reasonably available means” to discover the yet-unprotected source code, that the criteria for fair use were satisfied.
Hint: 9th Circuit, 1992.
Please answer the following (several sentences for each):
– Summary in several sentences: Explain your assigned case using straightforward language (i.e. a high school level vocabulary), as though you were speaking to someone who has never taken any classes in law or ethics. Make sure you include the following:
+State who sued whom and briefly describe the claims made by the plaintiff.
+Which party won? (Give the party name, not “plaintiff,” “appellee” or “defendant.”)
– Describe in several sentences the search process you used for the above answers and your level of comfort in using NU for legal research. (For example, which keywords were useful/not useful in your searches? Did you have any problems working with NU? If there are any issues you feel are not covered in the online resources, please note them here.)
Status of case :
+ Using annotated screenshots or a written description of the page layout, explain how one can determine the status of a case**. See the example attachments
+ Is the precedent** set by your case still valid? This should be more than a couple of sentences. Remember that a green or red symbol does not automatically make a case “safe” or “unsafe” for use in an argument.