Citation[edit | edit source]

Advanced Computer Servs. of Mich., Inc. v. MAI Sys. Corp., 845 F. Supp. 356, 30 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1443 (E.D. Va. 1994) (full-text).

Factual Background[edit | edit source]

Several independent service organizations (ISOs) sued MAI for antitrust violations. MAI counterclaimed, inter alia, for copyright infringement. The ISOs claimed that their copying of the MAI software was a fair use.

Trial Court Proceedings[edit | edit source]

Fixation[edit | edit source]

The court held that the conclusion that a program stored only in RAM is sufficiently fixed is confirmed, not refuted, by the argument that it "disappears from RAM the instant the computer is turned off"; if power remains on (and the work remains in RAM) for only seconds or fractions of a second), "the resulting RAM representation of the program arguably would be too ephemeral to be considered 'fixed'."

Fair use defense[edit | edit source]

As to the first fair use factor, the court invoked the Sony language about commercial uses being presumptively unfair, rejecting the ISOs public benefit argument.[1] The court held that the public benefit from fair use “typically involves the development of art, science, and industry, and not . . . the purely financial interest of customers.”[2]

The second fair use factor was seen as cutting against the ISOs, because software is “essentially a creative work.” The third factor, the extent of the copying, also favored MAI because booting the software usually copies “the entirety” and always copies the “heart of the copyrighted material.”[3]

The fourth factor also favored MAI, because the court defined the relevant market not as the market for computer systems, but as the market for licensing of the software.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 845 F. Supp. at 365.
  2. Id. (citations omitted.)
  3. Id. at 365-66.
  4. Id. at 366.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.