Is computer software copyrightable?
Copyright protection for computer software is recognized worldwide. The TRIPS Agreement specifies that computer programs, regardless of whether they are in source or object code, are protected as literary works. Unlike patents, copyright protection is automatic upon the creation of the work and does not require registration. However, to prove ownership and protect their investment in the software, right holders often register their work. Copyright protection for software has a term of protection equal to literary works, which is the life of the author plus 50 years or 50 years after completion of the work if the author is a legal entity. It's worth noting that copyright protection only extends to the expression of an idea and not the idea itself. As software often has technical functions, which are not protected by copyright, right holders cannot prevent others from developing similar software based on the same concept. In such cases, patent protection may be appropriate for the technical functions of the software. Each country's laws should be considered when deciding on the best way to protect software through IP rights.