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In a decision that looks likely to prove a boon to software publishers bringing look and feel suits over companies who appear to have copied the screen displays put up by their programs, the US Copyright Office has ruled that when a program is copyrighted, protection automatically extends to all the graphic and textual displays produced by the program – which means that it will be no defence to say that quite different code was used to produce a display that imitates that of a copyright program. Software firms will therefore not need to submit each individual display for copyright purposes. Taking no chances, Apple Computer Inc took pains to copyright the look-and-feel of the Mac interface as well as the code.

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