Copyright process question

Has anyone been through the process of applying for a copyright on an application?
If you have what did you send to meet the requirement for a file?

From which of the 200+ countries on earth are you?

Thats easy to answer:
It is almost of not impossible to copyright an application (software).
Good luck with that. :slight_smile:

Actually, in the US you can copyright the software. Now, does that copyright do you any good? I have a feeling it’s only good if someone uses your actual code, not just if they make a similar program (I’m no lawyer, so don’t believe anything I say about legal stuff, LOL). Here’s the US copyright info for software:

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ61.pdf

I’m in the US and copyrighted some modules that I put on Github. I used Legal Zoom. Filled out an online form and later uploaded the source and they did the rest. It was pretty painless.

From the above link:

[quote]For published or unpublished computer programs, send one copy of identifying portions of the program (first 25 and
last 25 pages of source code) reproduced in a form visually perceptible without the aid of a machine or device, either on paper or in microform[/quote]

Im not sure how to find the last 25 pages of Xojo source, let alone put it in a form that is perceptible without aid of a machine.

[quote=69331:@Jay Menna]
Im not sure how to find the last 25 pages of Xojo source, let alone put it in a form that is perceptible without aid of a machine.[/quote]
Print project to PDF
Print last 25 pages of PDF to paper

If you keep in mind that you can not copyright an idea or what is referred to as common routines and techniques, you’ll find that there is usually very little left in most commercial software that you can gain an enforceable copyright over. And even then you cannot prevent them from taking your idea and coding it up themselves.

You are all looking at code level though. The OP was asking about an APP not the code of the APP. So lets say you licence 1 copy of your app to someone, (they do not then own copyright through buying a licence unless you have specifically granted them the right) They then copy onto cd and give it to all their friends who install it. They have broken your copyright by producing copies of your works.

In the uk, and I quote from eCommerce, A practical Guide to the Law by Susan Singleton

“Copyright is not registered. It arises as soon as it is created, without formalities. It also protects computer software”

i.e. You do not need to register copyrighted material, it is assumed that the creator holds the copyright.

[quote=69632:@Mike Charlesworth]You are all looking at code level though. The OP was asking about an APP not the code of the APP. So lets say you licence 1 copy of your app to someone, (they do not then own copyright through buying a licence unless you have specifically granted them the right) They then copy onto cd and give it to all their friends who install it. They have broken your copyright by producing copies of your works.

In the uk, and I quote from eCommerce, A practical Guide to the Law by Susan Singleton

“Copyright is not registered. It arises as soon as it is created, without formalities. It also protects computer software”

i.e. You do not need to register copyrighted material, it is assumed that the creator holds the copyright.[/quote]

So yes your app itself can be copyrighted as a completed unit but some of the code which makes up the app may well not be able to be. For instance you click a menu in your app and a window opens, this can’t be copyrighted by you as it is a common function of many apps. If you developed a new algorithm to model something for instance which was unique I suspect you could copyright it.

It’s like that in the U.S. as well. Create anything and you own the copyright.

The only reason to register your copyright is (in theory) it can increase your chances of winning a lawsuit. But you really don’t want to court unless you like paying lawyers: my understanding (I’m not a lawyer) is that to win anything you have to prove financial loss on your part because of the infringement, which is nearly impossible to do.

I think this would make a good topic for an article in xdev magazine.

I am not an attorney - but as I understand things: copyright is all but useless for software. If your software contains unique data or content the copyright will protect the unique content. So if you find your content republished somewhere then you can chase them for copyright. But as was mentioned, copyright exists in the US as soon as you create something, and doing extra paperwork to register a copyright is a waste of time.

Now patents are an entirely different deal. We do have patents on some of our stuff, which protect both the data as well as the method of doing some specialized things in our software. We have competitors who have wholesale copied our patented items, and we have been able to very politely show them that they are in violation to have them yank their infringing stuff.

Bottom line: Copyright is a waste of time in software land, and exists for free. If you have something truly innovative or unique, try to patent it.

That’s not a bad idea!

No one disputes that you can not hold a copyright on the software you create, but you can not claim a copyright over the common techniques or routines that you use to create the app and when you take them out of equation there is usually very little left.

As I have already pointed out you can copyright an idea or concept! What you can do is to apply for a patent on it, if granted then you have solid legal protection, otherwise you are at the mercy of your competitors and if they have deep pockets expect the worst.

But your software looks so much Cooler when you have “MySoftwareIsSweet © All Rights Reserved” in your About Box :slight_smile:

An official, recognized, copyright on your programme allows you to keep using your program and minimizes the chance of someone attempting to profit on your work.

As an example, two people create two identical programmes with the same routines and GUI at the same time. One party decides to get an official copyright while the other party does not. A few years pass and both parties are making a good income because of the success of their programs and both become large corporations with extra money to spend. To increase market share, one company decides to take the other company to court because of copyright infringement. The copyright registration document provides extra weight in favour of the company with this case. This is not the only factor, and it begs the question by the judge as to the reason why the company who did not not register their program for copyright registration. This gives one company an edge over the other when/if this goes to court.

Plus there is the cool factor that Mike mentioned :slight_smile:

I recently posted a link to a series of videos on this subject… which I found very helpful in understanding this whole issue… There were created by an expert on the subject.

see https://forum.xojo.com/9706-intellectual-property-legal-videos

The cool factor is given for free to anyone who creates anything, regardless of whether it has been registered. See the question “Do I have to register with your office to be protected” here.

If you plan to file suit to defend your original works, then file the paperwork for the copyright before you go to court and within 5 years of publishing your work.

If you don’t plan to sue anyone (translated: give the lawyers all your money), then filing for official copyright paperwork is generally a waste of time.