Display Screen and software copyright

Apr 292020
Software copyright

Copyright is a type of Intellectual Property right that restricts the infringer from a lot of unauthorised activities thus making the life of the creator, safe and free of worries. When it comes to software, taking a copyright on the software motivates the creator to more innovative works not worrying about unauthorised infringements from people or other businesses. In other words, the copyright protects the creativity of a person and gives him ample rights to protect his original work. A Patent Attorney in India takes care of the patents and other Intellectual Property rights as he is the one responsible for going through the applications of the people who are looking to take Intellectual Property rights on their creations.

What exactly is a software copyright

After understanding the copyright in general, it is important to understand the use of copyright on computer softwares to know why millions of people in India and all across the world file for copyrights on their computer softwares.

Copyright on the software grants the protection to the creator (Programmer in this case) of the source code of the software that is used by the computer to perform a particular task. The programmer who has written the code for the particular software becomes eligible to take copyright on it as copyrights protect the original work of the creator.

Now, since the codes written for a particular software will perform a task on the computer and return something on screen, according to the copyright law in India, the registration process authorises the programmer to take copyright on the display screen as well. In order to get the copyright on the screen display, the programmer must submit the code which displays the output on the screen at the time of submitting the copyright application.

Can we take copyright separately on the display screen?

Well the answer to this question is YES. When the result page or the display screen is termed as your original work, it authorises you, as a programmer to take copyright separately on it under Artistic, Musical, Literary, sound recording or Cinematograph Film categories because the screen display is identified as separate content for copyright

What qualifies for separate copyright content?

A Patent Attorney in India accepts the work for separate copyright if the work is original and comes under the specific category of Artistic, Musical, Literary, sound recording or Cinematograph Film. When the attorney determines the copyrightability of the work, originality of work and minimum creativity is checked and the test of skill and labour is looked into. If the result of the software after compiling the code fails to produce any original work, copyright is not granted for that work as it does not qualify for a separate copyright content

 

When should you not claim independent copyright against the software?

As discussed earlier, anything that is original is copyrightable. In terms of computer software, a programmer can apply for a copyright when his source code is unique and extendable to display screen when the compilation of the source code returns a unique display. In this case, screen display can be applied for a copyright independently.

When it comes to extension, it is very much important to understand that copyrights can be extended to works which is not just an idea but has its own identified expression and also is independent of any other work. For example, the work which is awaiting a copyright should not be dependent on any other work or an extension of other work. If the present work is dependent on the previous work for its validity, it cannot be copyrighted. However, these type of works can be copyrighted as a whole with the work on which it is dependent and not independently

For example, when it comes to taking a copyright on a screen display, if the result page returns just a list of names using filters from the software, it will not be applicable for the copyright. For a result page to be eligible for a copyright, it must be original and have its own judgement or skill involved. In simpler words, the screen displays should not be dependent on the parameters from the software and can be used independently as an entity.

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dpadmin
Ketana Babaria Ms. Ketana Babaria, an advocate and registered patent Agent M. Sc. LL.B PGO-IBM, is of 20 years experience in the field of IPR, worked for generics and giants now leads a team, handling all aspects of patent and legal matters related to the pharmaceutical & non-pharmaceutical.