Can I Protect Computer Software - Copyright
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Released 23 October 2008
Copyright subsists in computer programs by virtue of its inclusion in the
definition of literary works under the Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988
This definition specifically includes computer programs and preparatory
design material for a computer program. Therefore in most respects they are
subject to the same provisions under the Act as any other type of literary work,
although the interpretation may be slightly different.
The main exception to this is the provisions relating to permitted acts. The
Act provides for separate provisions in this respect in line with the European
Directive on the legal protection of computer programs.
Infringement of copyright is looked at in terms of whether a substantial part
has been copied which in this is viewed (for software purposes) in terms of
quality as well as quantity.
This means that even if only a small part of a work has been copied depending
on its importance to the overall work this can be sufficient to constitute
infringement. Therefore even where there are differences between two works,
copyright will still be infringed where it can be shown that the subsequent work
is based on an earlier work.
This does theoretically give very wide protection to computer software as it
is likely that the program would not function without even a small part. In
practice this is limited slightly in that it will be considered when looked at
in isolation, whether the part taken required the application of some level of
skill on the part of the original programmer i.e. if copyright is capable of
subsisting in that part.
Jody Tsigarides is a Trainee Solicitor who specialises in Intellectual
Property (trade marks, copyright, designs) firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-10-25 00:19:43 in Legal Articles