Imagine the situation that you have created some kind of unique program. You calmly use it, improve/modernize it, and suddenly sitting, for example, on sites related to IT, you see your program, which the so-called “author” sells for a good cost. You are quite sure that this program is yours, and therefore sue such a person. As a result, you will find out that this program is registered in his name, and in the future he wins a dispute and prohibits you from using it. Is it a shame? So that this does not happen, let’s understand why it is necessary and how to protect IT programs by copyright.
What is copyright?
First of all, it is necessary to clarify that copyright in Ukraine is protected by such regulatory acts as: the Constitution of Ukraine, the Civil Code of Ukraine, the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary Works, other international treaties, as well as special acts as, for example, the Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights.” Note that Article 8 of the Law indicates copyright objects in which the cherished “computer program” is present (yes, even games, or other applications, Ukrainian legislation defines as a computer program), and Article 441 of the Civil Code indicates the ways in which such created objects can be used.
However, none of the above gives a specific designation to the term “copyright.” The Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights” gives a designation only to copyright objects, subjects and other categories related to copyright. But on the basis of all the above acts, we can conclude that:
Copyright is an institution in intellectual property law that regulates all rights that arise with the creation and use of copyright objects and grants protection to such objects.
It is very important that copyright arises only from the creation of a material object, since ideas and similar concepts are not protected by copyright.
What rights does the creator of the IT product have?
All authors, regardless of profession, have 2 types of rights when creating an object of copyright: property and personal non-property.
Personal non-property rights include:
- The right to recognize a person as a creator (author, executor, etc.) of a copyright object;
- The right to prevent any infringement (including its copyrights) capable of damaging the honor or reputation of the creator of such copyright object;
- The right to require the indication of its name in connection with the use of copyright, if practicable;
- The right to prohibit the indication of one’s name in connection with the use of copyright;
- The right to choose a pseudonym in connection with the use of copyright;
- Right to inviolability of copyright.
It is very important that such rights cannot be transferred and do not depend on property rights.
Property rights include:
- The right to reproduce, i.e. to make one or more copies of an object or part thereof in any material form
- The right to distribute copies of the object in any way (sell, rent, etc.).
- Right to public performance of the facility.
- Broadcast rights.
- Right to transfer.
- Right to processing (arrangement, processing, etc.).
This list of rights is not exhaustive.
How do I protect my product?
All authors should understand that copyright arises from the moment of material creation of the object. For an IT specialist – from the moment the program was created in the form of its source code.
In case of violation of your rights, which we indicated above, you can, based on the protection of your codes, judicially assert your rights. But what is the guarantee that these codes you “did not pirate” from another person? None.
Therefore, we recommend that you always protect your program with copyright registration. It is the certificate of protection of a particular program that will be the most convincing document during the protection of its content.
In addition, the copyright registration certificate is valid in all countries participating in the Berne Convention, which gives you additional conditions for protecting your content abroad.
Why register the copyright for an IT product?
For example, you sell your program on the Internet. Usually, when purchasing by influential companies, they ask for a supporting document that you are the author of this software.
By proving your authorship with a copyright certificate for the program, you can issue licenses for use not only in Ukraine, but also in other countries to the participants of the Berne Convention.
Also, with the help of such evidence, you are almost 100% likely to be able to punish an offender who illegally uses your creation.
Only copyright can protect my IT product?
In addition to the fact that copyright can protect your IT product in the form of the code that you register, it can protect your design design of the program. Such registration is made separately.
You can also protect your program name by registering a Trademark.
What is needed to register copyright for an IT product?
First, it is worth understanding how you want to register your product. If on your own, you will have to try a little, and with the help of a qualified specialist, such registration will take place very quickly and professionally, and you will not even have time to understand how you will already have the certificate.
To register, you will need:
- Issue an application for copyright registration;
- Pay duties;
- Print the “object passport” (it will include the type of your program code to identify that this is your program).
You will also have to go (or send by postal notification) twice to the state body Ukrpatent (Ukraine, Kyiv) – first to enter a bundle of documents, and then to pick up the certificate itself.
Also, if you independently submitted an application, then in case of any shortcomings or refusal, you yourself will have to defend your product. Cases are different, especially in government agencies.
Copyright Protection Period
The legislation of Ukraine provides for such a period of copyright protection – the entire life of the author and 70 years after his death. The author’s non-property rights are protected by law indefinitely.