Copyright Protection for Computer Programs in India

calendar24 Sep, 2020
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
Copyright Protection for Computer Programs in India

Innovation drives Information Technology. Whether it is a new business setup or an old corporate giant, everyone relies on innovation and technology. Then why not safeguard this invention and technology. Interestingly, now you can copyright your program and application via copyright registration. Not all developers understand the importance of copyright registration.

The unprotected programs that hold commercial value are more likely to fall in the hand of the infringer. There are so many instances where infringers copy the software even before it is officially released. To keep that adversity at bay, it’s essential for all the developers to avail of the copyright registration for their program.  In this article, we will look into how you can avail of copyright protection for computer programs in India.

Copyright Protection for Computer Programs in India

Read our article:8 Incredible Benefits of Copyright Registration in India

Why Copyright Protection for Computer Programs is Imperative?

As the software industry booming at a rapid rate, the newly launched program and application have become more vulnerable to infringement act. On a massive scale, such an act can tear up the company apart by shredding off their profit in the market. Availing copyright is the best way to keep the infringers as the way. At least it can undermine their efforts to access the software in an unauthorized manner.

You can take advantage of the Copyright Act, 1957, to protect your secure code. In past, the government authorities made various changes to meet the domestic and global requirements for copyright protection. The Technology Act and International Copyright Laws work in tandem with the Indian Copyright Act[1]. This act is the foundation for the copyright protection of software in India.

However, the law doesn’t provide global protection to the computer program. To avail of comprehensive protection, various international conventions render copyright protection by becoming a member. These include:

  • Universal copyright protection
  • Berne convention
  • TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects Of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement

Copyrighting Source Code

No wonder there can be similar computer programs in the market, but copyright imparts the unique identity to the product. It offers the following benefits to the product.

  • Registering the source code confirms the software ownership as it acts like prima facia evidence.
  • It is not compulsory in India to register the work to overcome infringement issues. However, copyright protection of software renders a list of rights, which include:-
  • Right for the reproduction of the computer programs.
  • Right for creating a software or code. 
  • The right to improve the code.
  • Right to seal the program to others.

Penalties Regarding Infringement of Programs

In the case of violation, the person is liable to face punishment under section 66 and 67 of the Copyright Act, 1957. Furthermore, the individual has to bear a penalty of Rs 1 lac or Rs 2 lac and confront a punishment of three years or five years, depending on the severity of the crime.

Process of Copyright Registration

The copyright protection for software can be availed through the following channels.

  • Registration through online mode.
  • Form filing at the regional office of copyright.
  • Get a paper form from a relevant portal, fill it, and then send it to the copyright office via post. The registration fee has been capped at Rs 500.

The application should go along with the source code and object code. The applicant has the right to submit the part of the source code to the authority instead of the complete code to safeguard the trade secret. The copyright serves typically the validity period of 60 years along with the lifetime of the owner.

Where to Display the Copyright Notice?

The copyright notice ought to be placed on software copies in such a manner as to render the reasonable notice of the claimant of copyright. The notice could be placed on the title page of the software’s documentation. Moreover, the notice can also be placed at the user terminal at sign-in. Failure to add the copyright notice does not destroy copyright protection even if:

  • The notice has been removed from a few copies of the computer software.
  • Copyright registration is availed within 6 years of first publication of the software and the concerned entity has made a reasonable effort to append a notice on the already distributed copies, or
  • The notice was removed in contravention of an express agreement, in writing, by which the owner become legally eligible to transfer the right of distribution to another person.

Copyright protection for computer programs is extremely crucial as it can safeguard the work from intentional manipulation and unnecessary access. Whether it’s a sophisticated source code or complex app program, copyright is the best protection available that legally makes your product isolated from infringers. Also, it helps your product garner credibility overtimes which gradually strengthen its brand value.


It should be noted that the copyright only protects the expression, not the idea that lies behind it. This is the key difference between patent and copyright. Thus, taking the complexity of the patent protection in the view, copyright is the most conducive option in the current scenario to safeguard your work’s creativity. The copyright protection for computer programs is important if the product holds some considerable value or has the potential to transform human life. Since these types of programs are highly susceptible to replication, it’s the job of a developer to at least copyright some part of the program to stay safe. Keep in mind that as per the Berne Convention, the use of the copyright is optional.

Read our article:Check out the Documents Required For the Copyright Registration

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