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Essential step defense

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Definition Edit

Under the essential step defense, a software user who is the “owner of a copy” of a copyrighted computer program does not infringe by making a copy of the program if the new copy is

created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and . . . is used in no other manner.[1]

This defense can be applied for activities ranging from making a security backup of a program, to performing necessary maintenance and updates to ensure the continued functionality of a program for its intended purpose. While a multitude of copies and modifications may be privileged under this defense, the crucial factor is generally whether the potential defendant is an owner or mere licensee of a program.

References Edit

  1. 17 U.S.C. §117(a)(1).

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