Software Copyright Laws

5 FAQ Regarding Software Copyright Law and Your Innovative Software

The creation and maintenance of software takes time, endeavor, know-how and innovation and, for that, it’s no wonder that copyright of software has been established. There are many questions people have about software copyright law. Below is the five most common questions that is asked:

- How Can A Person Protect The Software They Created?
- How Can They Register Their Software Copyright?
- Should A Person Register Their Software…No Matter What?
- If The Software Is Registered, Can The Owner Sue Infringers?
- What Kinds Of Damages Can Owners Be Compensated?

1 - How Can A Person Protect The Software They Created

The federal level offers little explicit software copyright law but it does give protection to software authors. However, they must register for the copyrights. It’s quite easy to do and costs just $30 for one piece of software.

2 - How Can They Register Their Software Copyright

The law does not mandate that authors hire an attorney to have their copyright registration published. Rather, they can fill out an application, which asks for the following:

- Work title
- Author’s name
- Creation date
- Copyright owner name

Be sure to send in the application, its fee and at least two copies of the copyrighted software to the U.S. Copyright Office. The application and the fees associated with it can be found at:

3 - Should A Person Register Their Software…No Matter What

That’s not always needed! If a person is publishing the work for their own use and it’s not valuable to anybody else, then there is no reason to have it copyrighted. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to have it copyrighted so that should someone else publish something similar and try to sue the original author for infringement. If the work is valuable enough, it might be worthwhile to register it.

4 - If The Software Is Registered, Can The Owner Sue Infringers

The answer is yes! If an author has registered his/her software, the work is automatically given copyright protection. That means the author owns the work and nobody is allowed to copy, duplicate or change the work without that person’s permission.

The moment somebody infringes on the copyright, this automatic protection is lost. A federal lawsuit will need to be filed that orders the halt of the infringement and a judge will need to be shown evidence that the author suffered a loss to be compensated. This lawsuit can only be filed if the software has been copyrighted at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Registering for copyright protection is simple to do but it does take some time. Thus, it’s necessary to register all software right away before someone tries to infringe on the author’s software. Waiting can cost a person more money by trying to expedite the process.

5 - What Kinds Of Damages Can Owners Be Compensated?

It’s important that the author registers his/her work before an infringement takes place, or have it done within three months of the work being published. By doing this, a person can recover damages. On top of being ordered by a court to cease, the offender may have to compensate the original author. This means asking for:

- Attorney fees
- Court fees
- Damages of up to $100,000 per violation – An author doesn’t even have to establish the actual damages to be compensated.

It can be very difficult to show actual damages so collecting special damages is quite useful. Federal lawsuits are quite expensive so collecting both the attorney and court fees is necessary.

If you are a victim of copyright infringement, make sure to speak with an intellectual property lawyer to learn what rights you have and if you can file for compensation. Be aware that you could suffer a loss with the litigation if it’s more than the award you obtain. Make sure you register your software right away because infringers know that you’d rather settle out of court so you can save yourself money.

If you want to find out more about legal issue related information, go to Free Legal Form site, and you can find many legal resources and free legal forms that are free of charge, including trademarks forms and Copyright Protection that can be used among many people who would like to protect their intellectual properties.