Dec 282017
 
This is a text that brings you step-by-step throught the copyright process for your personal software.
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This is a text that brings you step-by-step throught the copyright process for your personal software.
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Copyright Registration for Computer Programs

The text below is adapted from a Library of Congress.publication
explaining what steps to take to copyright your software. Please
be aware your software may also be patentable. You may wish to
consult with an intellectual property attorney to determine
whether protecting your software with patents in addition to
copyrighting it may be advisable.

DEFINITION OF COMPUTER PROGRAM
A computer program is a set of statements or instructions to be
used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about
a certain result.

COPYRIGHT FORMS, FILING AND DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS
To copyright your software, you will need to send the Register of
Copyrights all of the following:

1 -- A completed application form (typically Form TX)
2 -- A $10.00 nonrefundable filing fee payable to the Register of
Copyrights
3 -- One copy of identifying material (see "Deposit Requirements"
below)

Mail the three items above to
Register of Copyrights
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20559

EXTENT OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION
Copyright protection extends to all of the copyrightable
expression embodied in the computer program. Copyright protection
is NOT available for ideas, program logic, algorithms, systems,
methods, concept or layouts.

DESCRIBING BASIS OF CLAIM ON FORM TX

SPACE 2. In the "Nature of Authorship" space describe the
copyrightable authorship in the computer program for which
registration is sought. Acceptable statements include: "computer
program," "entire text of computer program," entire program code,"
"text of user's manual and computer program," etc. (Do NOT refer
to design, physical form, hardware, algorithm; do NOT describe the
program's features or functions.)

SPACE 6. Complete this space only if the computer program contains
a substantial; amount of previously published, registered, or
public domain material (such as, subroutines, modules, or textual
images). Space 6a may state "previous version." Typical examples
of descriptions of new material for space 6 b include "revised
computer program," "editorial revisions," "revisions and
additional text of computer program," etc. (Do not refer to
debugging error corrections, new functions of the revised program,
or other unregistrable elements.)

DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS

I. Computer Programs Without Trade Secrets
For published or unpublished computer programs, send one copy of
identifying portions of the program (first 25 and last 25 pages of
source code), reproduced in a form visually perceptible without
the aid of a machine or device, either on paper or in microform,
together with the page or equivalent unit containing the copyright
notice, if any.

For a program less than 50 pages in length, send a visually
perceptible copy of the entire source code. For a revised version
of a program which has been previously published, previously
registered, or which is in the public domain if the revisions
occur throughout the entire program, send the page containing the
copyright notice, if any and the first 25 and last 25 pages of
source code. if the revisions are not contained in the first and
last 25 pages, send any 50 pages representative of the revised
material in the new program, together with the page or equivalent
unit containing the copyright notice for the revised version, if
any.

Where an applicant is unable or unwilling to deposit source code,
he/she must state in writing that the work as depositied in object
code contains copyrightable authorship. The Office will send a
letter stating that registration has been made under its rule of
doubt and warning that it has not determined the existence of
copyrightable authorship.

If a published user's manual (or other printed documentation)
accompanies the computer program, deposit one copy of the user's
manual along with one copy of the identifying portion of the
program.

For HyperCard computer programs created in scripted language, the
script is considered the equivalent of source code. Thus the same
number of pages of script would be required as is required for
source code. Reproductions of on-screen text, buttons, and
commands are not an apprpriate substitute for this source code
deposit. Where a HyperCard program contains trade secrets, deposit
script pages meeting g the requirements of Part II below.

II Computer Programs Containing Trade Secrets

Where a computer program contains trade secret material, send the
page containing the copyright notice, if any, plus one of the
following:

A. Entirely new computer programs:

--first and last 25 pages of source code with portions containing
trade secrets blocked out; or
--first and last 10 pages of source code alone, with no block-out
portions; or
-first and last 25 pages of object code plus any 10 or more
consecutive pages of source code, with no blocked out portions.
--for programs 50 pages or less in length, entire source code with
trade secret portions blocked out.


B. Revised computer programs:

-- if the revisions are present in the first and last 25 pages,
any one of the 4 options above, as appropriate; or
-- if the revisions are NOT present in the first and the last 25
pages:
>20 pages of source code containing the revisions with no blocked
out portions, or
> any 50 pages of source code containing the revisions with some
portions blocked out.

NOTE: Whenever portions of code are blocked out, the following
requirements must be met:
(1) the blocked out portions must be proportionately less than
the material remaining; and
(2) the visible portion must represent an appreciable amount of
original computer code.

_________________________________________________________
SCREEN DISPLAYS
Copyright protection for computer screen displays has been an
issue in the courts during thepast few years, and questions were
raised about separate registration for screen displays. Although
some courts affirmed in several video game cases that pictorial
and graphic screen displays may be separately registered, other
courts offered disparate opinions regarding screen displays.
After a public hearing on the subject and throough review of
public comments received about registration for screen displays,
the copyright Office announced its decision in June 1988 to
require that all copyrightable expression embodied in a computer
program owned by the same claimant, including computer screen
displays, be registered on a single application form.

This decision also applies to videogame displays; these claims
will be treated the same as other claims that include authorship
in a computer program and screen displays. A single registration
will be made for the compute program and any related audiovisual
authorship owned by the same claimant. Separate registrations will
not be made.

The Copyright office has consistently believed that a single
registration is sufficient to protect the copyright in a computer
program, including related screen displays, without a separate
registration for screen displays or reference to the displays in
the application. An applictio nmay give a general description in
the "nature of authorship" space, such as "entire work" or
"computer program." This description will cover any copyrighable
authorship contained in the computer program and screen displays,
regardless of whether identifying material for the screens is
deposited.

Applicants who previously made a single registration for a
computer program should be assured that the registration covers
all the copyrightable content of the computer program. The Office
will not make a new basic registration or a supplementary
registration to allow a separate claim in the screen displays.
Neither will the Office accept identifying material for the
screens contained in any previously registered computer programs.

_________________________________________________________
HOW TO REGISTER COMPUTER PROGRAMS CONTAINING
COPYRIGHTABLE SCREEN DISPLAYS
_________________________________________________________

A single registration should be made in the class appropriate to
the predominant authorship. Because the computer program is a
literary work, literary authorship will predominate in most works,
including many in which there are screen graphics. Therefore
registration will usually be appropriate on Form TX. If pictorial
or graphic authorship predominates, registration may be made on
Form PA as an audiovisual work.

Thew registration will extend to any related copyrightable
screens, regardless of whether identifying material for the
screens is deposited. HOwever, where identifying material for
screen displays is deposited, it will be examined for
copyrightability. Where the application refers specifically to
screen displays, indentifying material for the screens MUST be
deposited. where the screens are essentially not copyrightable (EG
de minimis menu screens, blank forms, or the like) the application
should not refer to screens and the deposited identifying material
should not include screens.

To Register a computer program and its related screen displays:

--select the application form appropriate for the predominant
authorship;
--refer to the chart that follows to complete space 2 of the
application and to determine whether to file identifying material
FOR THE SCREEN DISPLAYS.

HOW TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION | WHAT TO DEPOSIT
_________________________________________________________________
SPACE 2 | ID Material for Screens
| (in addition to Required
| Source Code)
_________________________________________________________________
Option 1 | "Entire Work" | You may choose either to deposit
| or | ID materials for screens OR you
| "Entire Program" | may choose not to deposit ID
| | material for screens
_________________________________________________________________
Option 2 | "Entire computer | You MUST deposit ID
| program including | material for screens
| text of screen |
| displays" |
| or |
| "Entire computer |
|program including |
|audiovisual material" |
| or |
|"Entire computer |
| program including |
| artwork on screen |
| displays" |
_________________________________________________________________
| Note:The description | Note: Identifying material for
|of authorship on the |screen displays should consist of
|application should NOT|printouts, photographs, or
|refer to elements such|drawings clearly revealing the
|as "menu screens," |screens. For works that are
|"structure, sequence |predominantly audiovisual, such
|and organization," |as videogames, 1/2 inch VHS
|"layout," "format," |videotape is acceptable. ALL
|or the like. |screen identifying material will
| |be examined for copyrightability.
_________________________________________________________________


_________________________________________________________________
NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT
_________________________________________________________________

For works first published on and after March 1, 1989, use of the
copyright notice is optional, though highly recommended. Before
March 1, 1989, the use of the notice was mandatory on all
published works, and any work first published before that date
must bear a notice or risk loss of copyright protection.

Use of the notice is recommended because it informas the public
that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright
owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in
the even that a work is infringed, if the work carries proper
notice, the court will not allow a defendant to claim :"innocent
infringement" -- that is, that he or she did not realize that the
work is protected. (A successful innocent infringement claim may
result in a reduction in damages that the copyright owner would
otherwise receive.)

The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the
copyright owner and does not require advance permission from or
registration with the Copyright Office.

_________________________________________________________________
FORM OF COPYRIGHT NOTICE
FOR COPIES OTHER THAN PHONORECORDS
_________________________________________________________________
The notice for visually perceptible coies should contain all of
the following three elements:

1. The symbol (C) (the letter C in a circle), or the word
"Copyright," or the abbreviation "Copr."

2. The year of first publication of the work. In the case of
compilations of derivative works in incorporating previously
published material, the year date of the first publication of the
compilation or derivative work is sufficient.

3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an
abbreviation by which the name can be recongnized, or a generally
know alternative designation of the owner.

Example: Copyright 1989 John Doe

_________________________________________________________________
LOCATION OF COPYRIGHT NOTICE FOR WOKS
REPORDUCED IN MACHINE-READABLE COPIES
Section 201.20 (g), 37 CFR
_________________________________________________________________

For works reporduce in machine-readable copies (such as magnetic
tapes or disks, punched cards, or the like), from which the work
cannot ordinarily be visually perceived except with the aid of a
machine or device,* the following constitute examples of
acceptable methods of affixation and position of notice:

1 A notice embodied in the copies in machine-readable form in such
a manner that on visually perceptible printouts it appears either
with or near the title, or at the end of the work;

2 A notice that is displayed at the user's terminal at sign on;

3 A notice that is continually on terminal display
or
4 A legible notice reproduced durably, so as to withstand normal
use, on a gummed or other label securely affixed to the coies or
to a box, reel, cartridge, cassette or other container used as a
permanent receptacle for the copies.

_________________________________________________________________
FURTHER QUESTIONS:
_________________________________________________________________
If you have general information questions and wish to talk to an
INformation Specialist, call (202) 479-0700.

_________________________________________________________________

TO ORDER FORMS:
_________________________________________________________________

Write to the PUblications Section, LM-455, Copyright Office,
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20559 or call (202 707-
9100,. the Forms and Publications Hotline.

A copyright registration is effective onthe date the Copyright
Office receibes all of the required elements in acceptable form,
regardless of how long it then takes to process the application
and mail the certificate of registration. The time the Copyright
Office requires to process an application varies, depending onthe
amount of material the Office is receiving and the personnel
available. It must also be kept in mind that it may take several
days for mailed material to reach the Copyright Office and for the
certificate of registration to reach the recipient.

If you apply for copyright registration, you will not receibe an
acknowledgement that your application has been received (the
Office receives more than 600,000 applications annually),.but you
can expect:

- A letter or telephone call from a copyright examiner if further
information is needed;
- A certificate of registration to indicate the work has been
registered, or if the application cannot be accepted, a letter
explaining why it has been rejected.

You may not receive either of these until 120 days have passed.

If you want to know when the Copyright Office receives your
material, send it be registered or certified mail and request a
return receipt.


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