Protection for computer software

Glenn W. Peterson

Many people might understandably consider California the home of the computer software and hardware industries. Over the past few decades, Silicon Valley has launched an innumerable number of companies, ventures and technologies. This explosion of products onto the world market has brought with it the need to protect these products from being copied illegally.

As explained by the World Intellectual Property Organization, when computers were just beginning to show their potential to move into mainstream use for both business and consumer audiences, it was determined that patents should be the primary mechanism by which a business or individual could protect a hardware invention. For software, it was identified that copyrights would be the primary form of intellectual property protection.

With software relatively simple and inexpensive to create, at least when compared to hardware, there has clearly been a plethora of it developed. This fact might be one reason that leads some people to not stop and think about how to prevent their work from being infringed upon. But, Stanford University Libraries explains that failing to take the steps involved in registering a copyright as soon as a work is complete is taking a big risk.

Any developer or business that chooses to rely on the automatic copyrights will find themselves unable to pursue legal action against an infringer. This is only allowed if the original work has been copyrighted by the United States Copyright office. This can be done retroactively if an infringement occurs, but it may end up being more expensive at this time.