What is software ownership?
In the modern world, IT technologies play an important role. Their development is gaining momentum, which means that there are more and more intellectual property items. This article invites you to discuss the copyright in a computer program . Interesting? Then read on.
Clause 1 of Article 11 of the Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights” says that the subject that owns the copyright for the software is the author of the program (an individual). Also, according to the law, the author enjoys all existing property rights regarding the computer program.
Important! The author (in certain situations, co-authors) has the right to transfer his rights to the software to another person. The transfer can be full or partial. An obligatory requirement is the conclusion of an author’s agreement. Based on this document, new copyright holders can use the program in the amount and on the terms specified in the agreement.
In addition, copyright may apply not only to the computer program itself, but also to its name separately. In this case, the name is registered as a trademark. Thus, you protect not only the software itself, but also its name.
How long does software copyright last?
Copyright property rights arise immediately after the creation of a computer program and are valid throughout the life of the copyright holder. In addition, there is also a time limit after the death of the author that protects the copyright. It is 70 years old, and the countdown begins on January 1 of that year, which occurs after the year of the author’s death.
What elements of the Software can be registered?
So, speaking of registering a computer program, we mean several different options. In this case, the author has the right to register:
Let’s take a look at each method separately.
Register code as smart . The official registration procedure is, first of all, needed in order to avoid unwanted risks of someone else’s appropriation of your developments. In the event that competitors will use your codes in their programs, you, through legal registration, will be able to defend your copyrights and demand compensation from them, as well as remove all materials that contain your codes. It is quite difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to prove property rights in court without a corresponding Certificate of Registration.
Registration of the name as a trademark . This registration is required when your program is in great demand and popularity. Agree that consumers recognize products by their names (brands). Therefore, ill-wishers often use other people’s names in their works in order to attract as many clients as possible.
Registration of a work algorithm as a utility model, patent for a computer program . This option is the least common, since it is the most difficult. In most cases, the authors do not know how to correctly format all the algorithms for the operation of their software.
How do software copyrights come about?
As we have already mentioned, the copyright for the program arises from the moment when the author created a certain order of words, symbols, capable of being perceived by other users.
Registration and registration of rights are not mandatory requirements, since the rights appear automatically. However, it is quite difficult to defend your rights in the event of a property conflict without having a special document on hand. The only evidence that is legally binding is just the aforementioned Certificate. But if you do not have the strength and ability to carry out this procedure, then carry out the following.
If you use your developments (post, copy or release in circulation), be sure to leave a copyright sign on the material medium of the program (it looks like this – ©). This mark indicates that the object is protected by copyright. In addition, include also your last name and the year when the copyright appeared (that is, the year the software was created).
Interestingly, copyright does not protect certain elements of a computer program, namely:
- ways of working (math problems that the program relies on);
- software logic and sequence;
- special algorithms;
- programming language.
What does this mean? Copyright registration for computer programs does not apply to work algorithms. That is, this element will not be protected. Copyright will only protect the code (the entire text of the written program). If you want to avoid the use of your material by competitors, then you can register the algorithms as a utility model. So, you will receive a patent and will be able to defend your rights in court.
What problems and difficulties may arise?
As we know, everything is not always simple and easy. So it is with computer programs. This issue requires special attention, and also has its own difficulties. Now we will talk about them in more detail.
- An object is both a work of literature and an instruction. On the one hand, software is a set of certain symbols that form a text (sort of like a literary work), and on the other hand, it is a certain order of actions (in this case, it is already an algorithm).
- The size of the generated code. This is another complication. The volume of the program code sometimes reaches a large size, and given that it is supplied in printed form, it is not always convenient and accessible. In addition, along with all standard documents and materials, it is also necessary to submit a special instruction (instruction) on the use of the written codes.
What documents are required when registering the software?
In order to register a computer program, you will need the following list of documents:
- the original text (or parts of it) in the size required for the identification process;
- a special instruction that explains how to operate and use a computer program;
- documents confirming the date of creation and launch of the software;
- a document confirming the transfer of rights by inheritance (in the case when the copyright for a computer program arises as an inheritance).
Was it helpful? Find out more. For example, what features are copyrighted on YouTube.
A computer program is a relatively new object of intellectual property, which has its own characteristics and rules of use. In order not to fall into the tricks of scammers and unscrupulous competitors, complete the registration procedure in advance.
Our company Wise Group provides all services in the field of intellectual property. We will help you register copyright and protect intellectual property. In addition, we will tell you about all the features, nuances and rules for using a title of protection.
Our advantages are professionalism, timeliness, openness, availability, confidentiality and an individual approach. Want to get a free consultation? Then leave a request on our official website, and a specialist will contact you shortly!
Position: Lawyer in the field of intellectual property
Work experience: 8 years. Candidate of Legal Sciences.
Specialization: Deals with the protection and registration of intellectual property objects, writing claims and statements of claim. Registers objects in the customs register.
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