My Mom's Making History: The Story of Computer Software, Copyrights and Creativity

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9780972687102: My Mom's Making History: The Story of Computer Software, Copyrights and Creativity
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This is the story of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Whelan v. Jaslow that confirmed use of the copyright laws to protect computer software and defined the scope of this protection. It begins with an essay written by Christie Whelan when she was a student at Germantown Academy that tells of the impact this case had on her family and the world. It continues on with the extraordinary details of how this case developed and then goes back in time to the history and purpose of copyrights as developed by the brilliant thinking of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The postscript brings together the thoughts of others on this case as well as the current issues of protection, piracy, fair use and the public domain.

As a society, we want to reward creativity and assure that it will continue, we want free and open access to ideas and new possibilities, and we want to benefit from a wide choice of books, music, art, science, inventions and now computer software and the Internet. As in many other instances, the basic rules provided in our Constitution by our founding fathers have served us well. In any debate and any resolution of conflicting goals, we must remember the purpose of laws to protect intellectual property is to "promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

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About the Author:

About the Author

During the difficult years of the Whelan v. Jaslow case, Elaine Whelan gave credit to the sense of adventure instilled by her early educators that gave her the ability to overlook the daily devastations occurring all around her. Her first six years of education were in the Seek/Coaldale schools in the anthracite mining region of Pennsylvania and the second six years in the Abington schools in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

She won a full scholarship to Drexel University in Philadelphia and went on to graduate with first honors (summa cum laude). It was at Drexel that she was first introduced to computers. During these same years, her work with Miriam and Herbert Frank provided an education in the principles of friendship and service of the Philadelphia Quakers. She next studied the history of languages (philology) at the University of Pennsylvania, while she worked in research at Sun Oil Company and Towers, Perrin, Forster and Crosby .

After her marriage to Charles Whelan, she moved to Baltimore and was recruited by the Social Security Administration, where she received extensive computer education provided by IBM Corporation. While there, the federal government sponsored her graduate studies in advanced statistics for research at Johns Hopkins University. She participated in a number of pioneering projects, including the Medicare system, the first generalized computer programs for research projects, the first medical diagnostic banks in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and the tracking of space flights through Goddard Space Flight Center. She concluded her time with SSA on the Commissioner s staff focused on the projects to assign Social Security numbers to newborns and to provide part-time professions to women with children.

Soon after the Whelan s return to Pennsylvania and the birth of their first child, Elaine sold the concept of having a part-time professional to Krall Management Incorporated, where she worked a three-day schedule as a systems consultant for five years until the birth of their second child. When she returned to work, she met her first partner Myles Strohl and together they founded Strohl Systems Group, where the DentaLab system was first developed. As told in this book, she next founded Whelan Associates.

In 1990, she transferred her copyrights in the DentaLab system to Mainstreet Systems & Software, where she serves as President. The DentaLab system, now rewritten for Microsoft Windows XP, has continued to keep up with technology and has been licensed by over 350 dental laboratories, including five corporate groups of labs. In the years following the U.S. Supreme Court decision, a number of students seeking master and law degrees focused on the case for their thesis and called upon Elaine to help with their research. She was also asked to speak before groups interested in the case and to write articles for computer periodicals.

She has been a regular columnist for three journals of dental technology in the United States and Canada. In September 2001, she was cited as a visionary in the field of software for dentistry by the Journal of Dental Technology. After being urged to write a book about the case for many years, she began in the summer of 2001 and returned to complete it the summer of 2002. Her initial goal was a book for children and another for adults. Along the way, she determined her work should be directed to young students in the hope that an understanding of the history and purpose of the copyright laws would persuade many of them to honor and respect these laws both now and in their future careers.

She and her husband Charles live on a white pine farm in a rural village near Philadelphia, where they raise Bouvier des Flandres dogs and sponsor youth basketball. They are the parents of Chad and Christie and the grandparents of Bryn and Ruth.

Review:

Because it is so easy to understand, not only students but all citizens should read and learn its concepts. -- Press Release February 2003

Many of the most outstanding minds on the topic of intellectual property have made contributions to this book. -- Press Release January 2003

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Elaine P. Whelan
Published by Copyrights Promote Creativity Project (2003)
ISBN 10: 0972687106 ISBN 13: 9780972687102
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