Hi Dark,
It is pretty much like anything else in life. When you purchase
anything it is yours to use so long as you follow the rules or
guidelines the company or companies tell you via their license
agreements. It is capitalism at its worst.  The concept of copyright
law may have started out with the intend to help rotect someones work,
to see they got credit for it, but big industry has been able to turn
copyright law into a weapon to  use against any potential rivals.
One of the most rediculous cases of this in living memory is Intel
verses AMD. During the 1990's Intel and AMD were locked in a war to
design the next generation processor for the PC. At the time the best
processor around was the 486, and both Intel and AMD were working
independantly on a 586 processor design. As it happens Intel created
there 586 processor first and got a pattent for it before AMD. A few
months later AMD profected their 586 processor and Intel screamed
bloody murder over it, and right away took AMD to court over it. They
said that the 586 processor was a patented design and AMD could not
create a 586 processor under copyright law, and the 586 trademark was
the soul property of Intel Corp.  As it turned out the two trashed it
out in court and it went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court
before it got settled.
As it turns out since AMD had designed there processor independantly,
in that the technical specifications wer different from Intel's
design, the two processors were legally two different products. As for
the 586 trademark the Supreme Court issued a ruling that a number can
not be trademarked by a company or individual. Only a unique name or
specially identifying trademark could be trademarked. Soon after the
ruling Intel renamed their 586 processor line the Pentium and AMD the
While these stupid rivalries over copyrights seam to be happening
between the members of the upper class there is a major backlash going
on in the lower classes who simply refuse to be aparty to that kind of
legalistic abuse of copyright over software and everything else. The
GNU Linux software movement is just a case in point of people who
believe that software should be freely shared, distributed, and copied
so much as long as the author or authors of the software get credit
for their contribution to the work. I know of several independant
musicians that are now licensing their music, some of it pretty good,
under the Creative Commons license as they don't want to be a part of
the RIAA and their strong arm appproach to music copyrights.  There
are plenty of people who are sick and tired of the existing
restrictive copyright laws, but big business as usual is trying to
stomp them flat in court.
One case in particular is Microsoft verses Red Hat. Microsoft claimed
that the term window was a trademark, and that the Gnome open source
desktop was a copy of Microsoft windows. As it turned out Microsoft
lost the case and Red Hat as well as other Linux distributions are
still around. However, this only goes to prove the point that big
business really doesn't want any kind of serious competition. They
will use the copyright laws to try and stomp the competition flat if
the courts will let them. What they really want is to have a monopoly
which in of itself is illegal in the United States and past presidents
like Theodore Roosevelt tried to break up trusts and monopolies in the
early 1900's in order to have a more fair free market econemy. We
really don't see our government doing that any more because they are
getting paid big money by said companies to vote their way.

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