Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will head a field hearing in Provo Wednesday on Senate amendments aimed at offering better protection to computer software copyrights and trademarks.

Computer industry officials are scheduled to testify on the need for federal laws to guard against the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted computer programs, Hatch said."The amendments are similar in nature to the problem the Congress resolved in 1984, which now protects copyrighted sound recordings," he said.

"Unless Congress acts quickly, the embryonic rental industry could soon grow out of control, becoming a cancer that could kill off the legitimate software development industry by which it was created," Hatch said.

The senator said the potential loss to the U.S. economy should rental of software become widespread "can be seen clearly when one looks to the losses suffered by U.S. software developers by virtue of their inability to restrict commercial copying of the products in many foreign markets."

Hatch said software developers are losing an estimated $4.1 billion each year because of the lack of restrictions in foreign markets.

Scheduled to testify are Alan Ashton and Duff Thompson of WordPerfect Corp., Heidi Roizen of T-Maker and Software Publishers Association and Thomas Chan of Ashton Tate and ADAPSO.

The three-hour hearing will be held in the commission chambers of the new Utah County Complex.