Prepared by Lan Luu
Copyright Law
Computer Software Discussion
Major points of Bill C-60 Copyright Legislation
Computer Viruses/Trojan/Worms
Network Security
Other Sources on Privacy & Security information

Copyright Law

Copyright is a form of protection, provided by a federal statute, given to authors and creators of orginal works, such as books, records, films, and works or art, against a variety of authorized uses, for example, reproduction.

The Canadian Copyright Act was amended on June 8, 1988. The new Act extends copyright protection to computer programs strengthens the right of artists to control who uses their work, and establishes systems allowing creators to collect copyright fees more easily.

Computer Software

In the short term, piracy is still the software firms' biggest concern. Selling copies of brand-name programs is illegal just about everywhere. Yet the U.S government estimates that such piracy costs American firms at least $2-$3 billion a year. The software industry is pressing governments to crack down harder on pirates.

The Survey of Intellectual Property Rights in Canada confirms the Canadian software industry's dissatisfaction with IP protection. Software developers were the high-technology sector most dissatisfied with Canadian IP laws.

Software firms said that intellectual property protection is insufficient and incompleted and that existing laws are poorly enforced. However, the survey took play only a few months after Bill C-60, which provides explicit IP protection to computer software, was passed into law.

Potentially even more important than software piracy, in the long term, is the complex task of sorting out the ownership of the technologies and innovations used to create successful programs. For example, Apple Computer claims proprietary rights over the graphics-based user interface that makes its Macintosh computers so accessible. Apple is suiing both Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard in the United States to prevent them from developing a similar user interface for IBM-compatible personal computers.

Some countries such as US and Canada, use copyright to protect software. But other countries, such as Japan and France, have limited the application of traditional copyright principles to software.

Even if all nations agreed that full copyright protection should be granted, it is possible that imitators could still duplicate the essential features of a program if they changed it in minor ways. To guard against this eventuality, many U.S software firms back up copyright protection with patents which protects only the structural and operational processes.

Bill C-60
  • Protection of program as literary works. The owner, not possessor of program has right to make a single backup copy for security purposes. And may translate it into another language.
  • Copyright piracy is subject to heavy fines, possibly jail time, summary offense: $25,000, with maximum sentence of 6 months. Indictable offense: $1 million, with a five year jail term.
  • Clarification of what materials are protected under copyright law, and what is protected under industrial design law.
  • Copyright boards will be established, will have jurisdiction over fees for collectives, and nonlocateable owners of copyright.
  • Copyright collectives will be set up which will result in less competition. They will provide means through which to obtain licenses/permission to reproduce copyrighted material.
  • Moral rights of creators are enhanced. Including distortion, modification, use of material in association with products, services, or institutions which infringe on the integrity of the author.
  • Choreography is protected under copyright regardless of the work having a plot or storyline.
  • Rights for mechanical reproduction are abolished and replaced by negotiated settlement.

  • Privacy

    Privacy is the right of individuals and organizations to be left alone and to be secure in their personal papers.

    On the communication network, the right of privacy can be divided into three categories: confidentiality, anonymity, and data protection. For confidentiality, it means that the existence of the communication should be known only by the parties involved without disclosure to a third party. Anonymity means the individual's right to disclose his/her identity in a network. Data protection is the collection and use of personal data. There are three exceptions of privacy protection. They are criminal investigation, consent is given by the owner of the information, and for the maintenance of the network.

    Computer viruses, trojans, and worms

    A computer virus is a code segment that has been incorporated into the body of another program, "infecting" it. When the virus code is executed, it locates a few other uninfected programs and infects them, in due course, the number of infected programs can grow quite large.

    Computer viruses work by sitting with executable files so that the virus part acts before the original purpose of the program. They are able to spread through file permissions and they are difficult to detect because cause and effect are impossible to fathom when faced with randomness and long time delays. Most viruses contain a marker that allows them to recognize copies of themselves.

    Two main types of PC viruses: They are Boot sector and File/Program viruses.

    A Boot Sector virus (BSV) infects the boot sector on a diskette. Normally the boot sector contains code to load the operating system files. The Boot Sector virus replaces the original boot sector with itself and stores the original boot sector somewhere else on the diskette or simply replaces it totally. When a computer is then later booted from this diskette, the virus takes control and hides in RAM. It will then load and execute the original boot sector, every diskette inserted in the computer will be infected with the virus, unless it is write-protected. Many BSVs are also able to infect hard disks, where the process is similar to that described above, although they may infect the master boot record (also known as partition table) instead of the DOS boot record.

    Second type of computer viruses is File/Program viruses , which infect executable programs, usually .COM and .EXE files, but sometimes also overlay files. An infected program will contain a copy of the virus, usually at the end, but in some cases at the beginning of the original program.

    A few common misconceptions about viruses:

  • A virus can not spread from one type of computer to another. For example, a virus designed to infect Macintosh computers can not infect PCs or vice versa.
  • A virus can not appear all by itself, it has to be written, just like any other program.
  • Not all viruses are harmful; some may only cause minor damage as a side effect.
  • A virus can not infect a computer unless it is booted from an infected diskette or an infected program is run on it. Reading data from an infected diskette can not cause an infection.
  • There is no way a virus can attach itself to data files, so viruses can not distributed with them. However, a Boot Sector virus can be distributed on data diskettes.
  • Top four commonly reported viruses:

  • Monkey - Boot infector
  • Form - Boot infector
  • Stealth - Boot infector
  • Natas - File infector
  • A Trojan is a program that pretends to do something useful (or at least interesting), but when it is run, it may have some harmful effect, like scrambling your FAT (File Allocation Table) or formatting the hard disk. The major difference between viruses and "Trojan" programs is that the virus replicates, but the Trojan does not. The Trojan program is the most common means of introducing a virus into a system. It is sometimes suggested that Trojan programs can be detected by scanning a program's source file for statements that perform operations outside the program's specifications.

    Worms are self-replicating programs that can run independently and travel from machine to machine across network connections; worms may have portions of themselves running on many different machines. Worms do not change other programs, although they carry other code that does, such as a true virus.

    Internet Worm On the evenving of Nov. 2, 1988. A self-replicating program, called a worm, was released on the Internet. Overnight, this program had copied itself from machine to machine, causing the machines it infected to labor under huge loads, and denying service to the users of those machines. Although the program only infected two types of computers (Sun-3 systems and VAX systems), it spreads quickly, as did the concern, confusion, and sometimes panic of system administrators whose machines were affected. The worm itself did not destroy any files, steal any information (other than account passowrds), intercept private mail, or plant other destructive software. However, it did manage to severely disrupt the operation of the network. Several sites, including parts of MIT, NASA's Ames Research Center disconnected themselves from the Internet to avoid recontamination.



  • A software/hardware construct that acts as a mechanism to selectively allow traffic between the Internet and your machines.
  • Two types of firewalls:

    Host Protection: Application Server Firewall

  • The server program (Telnet, FTP, RLOGIN) or server dispatcher (inetd, MASTER_SERVER) is designed to check an access list before accepting the connection.
  • Very useful when you don't want to grant access to every service to every node on the net. For example, E-mail from anywhere is probably ok, but we probably do not want an FTP connection coming in from our competition.
  • Network Protection: Simple Routing Firewall

  • Good when you have two categories of machines on your local network. Those you want on the Internet, and those you don't.
  • Most Internet connections consist of a set of routers connected to your local network. A default route (or routing update) tells machines on your network how to get to the Internet.
  • Go Top Page
    1. Computers Under Attack: Intruders, Worms, and viruses by Peter J. Denning
    2. The Internet Yellow Pages Second Edition by Harley Hahn, Rick Stout, 1995 edition
    3. Supplementary readings on Privacy & Security from CPSC 547, provided by Dr. Shaw.

    Last updated on 4/9/95 luul

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