Computer Program/Software registered under Copyright Law

As specified by the Indian Copyright Office, copyrights pertaining to software and computer program can be registered by way of one or more copyright applications to protect corresponding intellectual property rights (IPRs). In accordance with the Indian Copyright laws, Computer Software or programme can be registered as a ‘literary work’. As per Section 2 (o) of the Copyright Act, 1957 “literary work” includes computer programmes, tables and compilations, including computer databases. ‘Source Code’ has also to be supplied along with the application for registration of copyright for software products.

How do you get a copyright for software?

The first step to obtain copyright protection for a software / computer program is to determine if the subject matter of said software / computer program is eligible for copyright protection. An experienced copyright attorney or intellectual property law firm can assist in determining whether one or more aspects of the computer program / software are protectable by a copyright. As per copyright laws across multiple jurisdictions, a copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are in a tangible form or expression.

Assignment of Software Copyright

In accordance with Indian laws and the Delhi High Court judgement in the case of Pine Labs Private Limited vs Gemalto Terminals India Private Limited, the author of the source code owns the original copyright of the software program and the same is required to be assigned to the owner / publisher of the software by way of Software (Intellectual Property) Assignment Contract. Furthermore, while drafting software assignment contracts, the term of assignment and jurisdiction should be clearly specified to ensure perpetual ownership of the software worldwide.

Software Patents in India

Copyright for software or computer program is different from software patents in India as patents pertaining to computer related inventions are granted to cover the novel processes (data processing methods) that are embodied over a hardware system architecture. This becomes useful for inventors as machine learning innovations that embody artificial intelligence can be patented in India. 

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