Federal District Court Holds that Party Alleging Software Copyright Infringement Must Have Preserved an Intact and Original Version of its Source Code to Withstand Summary Judgment

June 25, 2012 - from DisputeSoft

On May 31, 2012, in InDyne, Inc. v. Abacus Technology Corporation et al., Judge Anne C. Conway of the Middle District of Florida granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to preserve the software source code at issue as it existed on the date of its publication.  More specifically, the court ruled that plaintiff InDyne, Inc., an outgoing federal contractor at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, could not meet its burden of proving that defendant Abacus Technology Corporation had copied its proprietary software because an intact and original copy of the source code was required for purposes of showing “substantial similarity” between the allegedly offending work and the protectable, original elements of InDyne’s copyrighted work.  As InDyne was only able to produce a version of the proprietary source code that had been modified many times throughout the course of its contract with NASA, which commenced after the software’s publication date, the court held that the plaintiff had failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact with regard to its copyright infringement claim.

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