16 March 2021

Copyrights for Software

Software is a set of commands and other data which are necessary for the operation of various computer devices. Developed software is an object of copyright, as literary works, and is protected in the same way.

Software Copyright Registration

For occurrence and copyright protection for software the mandatory registration of software is not required, but we recommend registering the software in Rospatent in advance, as this will greatly facilitate the proof of the existence of the program on a certain date.

The application for registration must contain:

  • Application for state registration of software or database with indication of the right holder and the author, if he has not refused to be mentioned as such and place of residence or place of location of each of them.
  • Deposited materials identifying the software or database, including an abstract.
  • A document confirming payment of state duty in the established amount or grounds for exemption from payment of state duty or to reduce its amount, or for deferred payment.

Copyright acknowledgement

If the software was not registered until a dispute related to copyright arises, it is possible to prove the authorship if you provide the following:

  • Testimony confirming the authorship.
  • Notarization of the signature on the work; notarization of the time of the presentation of the document.
  • Notary storage. The sample on the material medium is packaged in the presence of a notary. The notary assures it by stamp, puts the date and signature (an analogue of custody or depository storage).
  • Publication in media or catalogue, brochure and other printed media with the obligatory indication of the date of publication and edition.
  • In case of obtaining exclusive rights to software from another person - the agreement that contains conditions of transfer of rights (assignment agreement of exclusive rights, a license agreement), preferably with a detailed description of the results of intellectual activity, the rights to which are transferred.

Infringement of Right for Software

Any use of results of intellectual activity by third parties without the permission of the copyright holder, namely:

  • Reproduction of the work, i.e. the making of one or more copies of the work or its part in any material form. In addition to this recording of work to electronic media, including computer memory, also considered as reproduction.
  • Extension of works through sale or other disposition of its original or copies.
  • Import of the original or its copies of a work for distribution.
  • The rental of the original or copy of the work.
  • Translation or other processing of the work.
  • Making available to the public

In addition to that infringements of exclusive rights for software are: appropriation of authorship (plagiarism), which is expressed, in particular, in declaring own self as the author of someone else's work, the issue of someone else's work (fully or partially) under his own name, publishing under his own name of the work created in co-authorship with other persons without specifying their names; and actions designed to circumvent technical means of protection of intellectual property, possibly associated with their counterfeit (holographic tools as an example).

Court Action

In case of conflict situations with the illegal use of the software or database by third parties or the contesting of authorship in court it is easier to prove authorship of the work, if the rights for works were officially formalized. The court will consider the document of the Deposit (registration) as one of the proofs.

It is possible to contest someone else's authorship by providing the documentary evidence of the existence of the works at an earlier date than the date of registration (Deposit) works. That’s why we recommend to register copyright as soon as possible and to make the Deposit (or storage) of works in the Russian authors' society (RAS).