How To Benefit From Copyright Protection?
Without any formality, you can acquire Copyright protection. The software is therefore protected from its creation and this for 70 years from the death of the author. If it is a legal person (company, association, etc.), from the date to which the software was made public. It is, therefore not necessary to affix the famous Copyright symbol which is often found on websites on its software.
However, your software will only be protected if it is original. In other words, if it is the result of a creative process of your own and if it represents a real intellectual contribution.
What are the elements of software that can be protected?
Subject to originality, the constituent elements of the software that can be of copyright protection are:
The graphical interface, which allows the user to interact with the program and which is recognizable by its visual appearance;
The title, which identifies the software and which can also be subject to trademark registration.
The user manual which helps the user to understand how the software works.
The program as such, which includes the source code, the object code, and the executable file, and preparatory design material, i.e., all of the work that contributed to the creation of the software (prototypes, reporting, etc.).
On the other hand, the algorithm, considered as a series of ideas, that don’t have copyright protection. The same goes for the functionality of the software as well as the specifications.
If your software is a video game containing music. Be aware that this is copyright protected thanks to the protection of musical works and that it is possible.
What are the rights of software authors that should be granted for Copyright Protection?
As an author, you have economic rights to determine how the exploitation of your software is exploited and also to obtain remuneration in return. In particular, you may decide to prohibit or allow:
The permanent or temporary reproduction of your software, in whole or in part.
Translation, adaptation, or modification of your software.
Result? If you have transferred all or part of your economic rights, you cannot reverse this commitment before the end of the date of transfer provided for in the contract.
Attention, unless otherwise stipulated, the right of withdrawal and repentance as well as the right of disclosure, which are part of moral rights, do not apply to the software. For the other non-transferable ethical reasons, they include:
A right to respect your name:
This paternity right allows you to claim that your name appears alongside your software. Even if you have ceded your exploitation rights to a third party and a right to respect your software which authorizes you to oppose any modification that would distort your software.
Who is the copyright holder of the software?
In principle, the person who created the software holds the rights to it. However, it is not uncommon for software to have been developed by several people or as part of the author’s professional activity. Several scenarios can therefore arise:
If the software is a collaborative work between various authors, the latter will then be joint holders of the rights to their popular software.
If the software was created and published on the initiative of a natural or legal person. Then that person will be the owner of the software.
The software is a commissioned work, the author remains the holder of the rights to its software except in the case where a license or assignment contract has been signed finally. If the author of the software is an employee who operates within the scope of his duties or on the instructions of the employer. The latter will automatically obtain the economic rights over the software developed by his employee.
How to stop counterfeiting your software?
If your software is the subject of counterfeiting (copying all or part of your software without your consent). You can take legal action to stop the acts of copying and obtain, if necessary, damages and interests.
Proof of counterfeiting is free and can be done by any means. In particular by a counterfeiting seizure, which is a procedure by which a bailiff can inspect the premises of the infringer. Without the latter being notified, and thus seize physical evidence of counterfeiting.
However, to stop counterfeiting, you must prove that you are the author of the counterfeit software. To do this, you will, in particular, need to constitute one or more proofs of the prior art. That can establish the date on which the constituent elements of your software were created. Blockchain time stamping is one of the methods you can use right now to protect your software creations.