Defining Computer Program Parts Under Learned Hand’s Abstractions Test in Software Copyright Infringement Cases

This Note proposes a set of computer program part definitions that develop Learned Hand’s abstractions test to make it more useful in software infringement cases. The Note takes no position on the proper scope of protection for software under copyright law, but argues that no consensus is possible on which program parts deserve copyright protection until courts recognize that computer programs are composed of components whose definition lies beyond judicial control. Program parts defined in conclusory legal terms will never provide a stable basis for reasoned debate over the conclusions presumed in the definitions.