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In early 1989, the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Administration of Justice of the House Committee on the Judiciary (now the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and Judicial Administration) requested the Office of Technology Assessment's OTA assistance in considering the issues related to the protection of computer software in a changing international marketplace.
OTA prepared this report, which reviews copyright, patent, and trade secret protections; discusses current issues regarding legal protection for computer software; and identifies some of the normative and positive questions that Congress should consider in its continuing oversight of computers, software, and intellectual property.
The background paper was released at the Subcommittee’s second day of oversight hearings on March 7, 1990 on the topic of computers and intellectual property, at which OTA presented testimony. OTA had previously submitted a staff paper, "Intellectual-Property Protection for Computer Software," to the Subcommittee to assist in preparations for the first day of oversight hearings on that topic on November 9, 1989.