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Copyright Infringement of Software:Protection Available against Literal Copying of Computer Programs

Author: Apurva Mehta, Student, National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi, India

Abstract Copyright protection to computer software is the need of the 21st century since the software products market is the fastest-growing segment amongst all IT services in India. As the 21st century is going to be a century of computers, the paper tries to analyse whether the present Indian laws dealing with copyright protection to literary work of computer software are in pace with fast-changing computer technology or not. Copyright exists in all unpublished or original published literary works. It is an instance of literal copying when a creative and substantial piece of code is replicated exactly the way it is. In India, the computer software which is considered as intellectual property is protected under the Copyright Act, 1957 which secures the creator's monetary and moral rights in the copyrighted work. Source code and object code of the software are secured against literal copying. The protection is available only if the computer software is original and adequate effort and skill has been put in it. The Copyright Act, 1957 was amended twice, in 1983 and in 1994 to give effective security to computer programs. India provides similar protection to foreign copyright author's work which is published in other nation that holds membership of Berne Convention or Universal Copyright Convention. The paper further discusses the place of lodging the complaint, the court which has jurisdiction to entertain it and the time period within which it can be entertained according to the statute of Limitation on civil copyright claims. The civil remedies and criminal liability with regard to copyright claims have also been discussed.

Keywords: Computer Software, Copyright Infringement, Remedy, International Conventions.

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