Is computer software protected by copyright?

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were extensive discussions on whether the copyright system, the patent system, or a sui generis system, should provide protection for computer software. These discussions resulted in the generally accepted principle that computer programs should be protected by copyright, whereas apparatus using computer software or software-related inventions should be protected by patent.

How much of someone else’s work can I use without getting permission?

Under most national copyright laws, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work, including quotes, for purposes such as news reporting and private personal use.

How do I get permission to use somebody else’s work and other subject matters?

You can contact the right owner.

For certain types of works and other subject matter, you can get permission from a collective management organization. Collective management organizations license use of works and other subject matter that are protected by copyright and related rights whenever it is impractical for right owners to act individually.

There are several international non-governmental organizations that link together national collective management organizations.

How are copyright and related rights protected on the Internet?

Two treaties were concluded in 1996 at WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) in Geneva. One, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), deals with protection for authors of literary and artistic works, such as writings and computer programs; original databases; musical works; audiovisual works; works of fine art and photographs. The other, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), protects certain "related rights" (that is, rights related to copyright): in the WPPT, these are rights of performers and producers of phonograms.

Do you need to register to be protected?

Copyright itself does not depend on official procedures. According to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, literary and artistic works are protected without any formalities in the countries party to that Convention. A created work is considered protected by copyright as soon as it exists.

In general, registration can serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to disputes relating to copyright.

Why protect copyright?

Copyright and its related rights are essential to human creativity, by giving creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic rewards. Under this system of rights, creators are assured that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or piracy. This in turn helps increase access to and enhances the enjoyment of culture, knowledge, and entertainment all over the world.

What are rights related to copyright?

A field of rights related to copyright has rapidly developed over the last 50 years. These related rights grew up around copyrighted works, and provide similar, although often more limited and of shorter duration, rights to:

Are ideas, procedures, methods or concepts protected by copyright?

Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.

What rights does copyright provide?

Copyright gives the creators of works, and their heirs, economic rights enabling them to control use of their material in a number of ways, such as by making copies, issuing copies to the public, performing in public, broadcasting and use on-line. It also gives moral rights to be identified as the creator of certain works, and to object to distortion or mutilation of it.

The creator holds the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms.

The creator of a work can prohibit or authorize:



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