Let's not make the mistake of assuming everything in software is copyright
eligible. First there's 17 USC § 102(b) ("In
no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to
any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle,
or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained,
illustrated, or embodied in such work").
Substantially similar fails by
filtration of ineligible elements or those dictated by Scènes à faire ("Under the
merger doctrine, courts will not protect a copyrighted work from infringement if
the idea underlying the work can be expressed only in one way, lest there be a
monopoly on the underlying idea").
You would think that a collision in
object code space was either the result of something diminutive enough to be
covered by exemption from copyright based on functionality or idea, a
demonstration of Idea/Expression Dichotomy ("If those software
developers are prevented from having access to the creative expression of
another person’s implementation (e.g., the original program), then any
similarities between the two implementations arise only from shared ideas rather
than from copied expression").
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