You might be a computer nerd or a computer whiz and develop awesome programs and applications. But if you don’t know how to protect your work, it will not really help you gain anything. Before you realize you will find that others are copying and trying to present your idea as their own creation. You can’t sit back and accept it as fate or feel lost of action. Hence, instead of waiting for some hardship to befall on you, it is better to be proactive. Ever heard of Copyright? This is the keyword that is going to save your day.
Copyright law protects your original work from being copied or used without your permission. However, you must note that copyright laws protect the physical form of the idea rather than the idea itself. With regards to copyright, computer is viewed as any device which can process information.
Many people tend to confuse the copyright laws with that of the patent laws. In simple terms, copyright protects intellectual work which need not necessarily be published whereas patent protects inventions and grants the inventor ownership of the invention for a particular time period.
An important point for the developers to note is that the copyrighted material is generally available to the public for inspection which in case of computers involves source code. Hence, it is considered a smart move, to copyright only a part of the code rather than the whole code. This way the code that is not under copyright law becomes a trade secret and subsequently will not be available to infringe upon.
You might be wondering if the same copyright law which protects your source code will be protecting your visual content too. Then you might be disappointed, this is not really the case. The source code and visual content are completely different, your program’s source code falls under the intellectual category and its visual content content falls under the artistic category of the copyright law. Hence, it is important for you to file separate applications for your source code and your graphic content.
As the copyrighted owner of the material, you can distribute copies of your work. In order to protect your material, it is considered a good practice to put some kind of copyright notice on the copies. The copyright notice typically consists of the copyright symbol (letter c inside a circle), the year the material was first published and the name of the copyright owner.
Copyright owing to a computer program might get confusing. In simple terms, if you are an individual who wrote the initial program, then you are the sole copyright owner of the material. If you are a part of a team which developed the program and where all the members’ contribution are equal, then the copyrighted material is jointly owned by your team.
This scenario holds no weightage, if you or your team develops a program when you are working under any firm or organization. If a program is created in such circumstances, the employer or the organization will be considered as the first copyrighted owner of the material.
The lifetime of a copyrighted material depends on the ownership. If a material is owned by you, an individual, then you can own the material for the duration of your lifetime plus sixty years. Now that you are aware of your right, create amazing computer programs and at the same time be prepared to safeguard it from all external hazards possible.
The author, Keith Shelby, is a well known blogger and a dynamic individual. He enjoys writing on law and business related topics. He says if he gets stuck while writing he visits accesssolicitor.com for more information.