I've noticed Software SLAs (Service Level Agreements) contain similar language to each other.

Question: Is a software SLA considered intellectual property, copyrighted or protected in any way from being copied word-for-word wholly or in part without attribution?

I have googled and searched this StackExchange specifically but did not find an appropriate answer, at least as far as I could tell.

(Not a lawyer. Please forgive if this is obvious or if I improperly use any terms. Scope of this question is US-only.)


Yes and no. In principle, any document can be subject to copyright protection, as long as it is created by a person within the required time frame. Legal documents may not be, when they were first written in 1659 and have been recycled for centuries: if it worked in 1659, surely it will work now. In the case of a computer service agreement, it is probable that the document is new enough that the original would not have lapsed into the public domains, thus the original is protected. Since this was probably a work for hire, the rights-holder is probably some company. If they were really clever, they may have registered their copyright, in which case all of those other people could be in a world of trouble. Otherwise, there is the problem of establishing the holder of the right. BTW, attribution is mostly irrelevant, what counts most is permission (which may be publicly granted under CC license terms, with the provision that attribution is given).

  • Thank you. Added copyright as a tag since that may be more appropriate per your response Jan 23 '17 at 21:00

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