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Software Copyright Laws
Software Copyright Laws Fail to Provide Adequate Protection
Software copyright laws are among the most difficult to enforce among the masses. Many companies and corporations are also well known for overlooking these laws, which were designed to protect the makes of software from not earning their worth. Perhaps one of the biggest hitches leading so many software businesses to go out of business is the fact that they have a great deal of difficulty actually enforcing the software copyright laws that are in place and getting the money that is owed them according to the agreements that have been made with those on the using end of the software.
Software developers, particularly in the corporate world design software that makes other companies run more efficiently. The software allows these companies to save millions of dollars each year. Software copyright laws protect the interests of the software developers that create these massive programs. These programs are often designed specifically for that one company and are very expensive. The agreement often consists of a certain number of users with the company purchasing more licenses or copies of the software during expansions or paying some sort of royalties for the use of the software.
The purchasing companies agree to this and then more often than not fail to honor that agreement. The agreement is what allows this company to use that software, this agreement is what allows that permission. When companies aren't living up to their end of this agreement they are not only guilty of breaching that agreement but also of breaking software copyright laws. The trouble always lies in proving that they are not honoring the contract and the extent and duration of the breach.
Some of the ways that companies will argue in defense of them not paying the royalties, additional fees, purchasing additional software, etc. is that they upgraded computers and reused the old software (they did actually purchase the rights to use the original software and by doing so feel that they have broken no software copyright laws) the problem lies in the fact that adding ten new computers and placing the software on those should mean that you remove it from or get rid of 10 old computers. This is rarely how it works. So now they've basically stolen ten copies of software that can be well worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Multiply this by 10, 20, or 100 companies trying this or worse each year and the offending companies are costing software developers millions of dollars in profits. This is when software copyright laws are not as far reaching in their scope as they really need to be.
Software copyright laws exist to protect the software companies from this type of abuse and misuse, however, the hands of the companies are almost unilaterally tied when it comes to proving that software copyright laws have been broken in court.
There are always exceptions to every rule. In this case big business software developers that abuse the software copyright laws to the point of breaking make the exceptions rather than miserly consumers that do not wish to pay for the products they are consuming. The big boys are able to do this by offering licenses for their software and claiming that these laws do not apply to their situation because they are not actually selling the software only 'renting' out permission for people or companies to 'use' that software. The true irony is that these practices began as a response to the corporate irresponsibility mentioned above. It's amazing that the very software copyright laws that were created to protect these companies can't protect their consumers from the greed of the developing companies.
How to copyright software How to Copyright Software Sanely If you're wondering how to copyright software the good news is you've probably already done it. At least you have if you have ever written software. Most people however get confused over exactly what having a copyright for their software means and this is the trickier question to answer. First of all, thinking it isn't going to do it and you can't really copyright the things you think. Second, only those things that can be seen (when it comes to software) can be copyrighted. If you want to protect the abstract, look into patents. Otherwise if it is original, fixed, and tangible you can copyright it. Essentially you already know how to copyright software if you've put it into a finished form. Once you've written the source code the copyright belongs to you. Copyrighting software doesn't offer the protection that many people hope it will. The idea of the software and anything about the finished product that wasn't available in a tangible (visible) form isn't protected by the copyright. In fact the only thing that is undeniably protected by copyright when it comes to software is the source code. The question you should be asking is now how to copyright software, it is how to patent your software and that requires a much more involved and prolonged explanation. To obtain a patent for your software you must apply for a patent in each country that offers patents for software and in which you wish to have the protection a patent can offer. I warned you this was much trickier than how to copyright software. Then it gets trickier still. There is no universal legal definition of what a software patent is so each country that offers patents also has a different definition for what is protected by that patent as well as for why a patent will be granted. If you want to add to the confusion a little more while wondering how to copyright software, also consider the fact that your software may be given a patent in one of the countries where you applied and none of the others. Of course, if this is not enough fun for you, you can try to deal with the red tape involved in dealing with multiple governments in order to resolve any issues or disputes that may have arisen from the result of the software patents you hold. If you've forgotten the original question it was: how to copyright software? I told you that one was much easier. The main thing you need to do if you're going for international patents (which can secure a profitable future for you and your business) is to get a really good patent lawyer and have him walk you through and hold your hand for the entire process. In fact, I would say that's probably the best advice you can get. Patents are complicated and when you're not exactly sure of what you're doing, whom you need to talk to, and what the next step is you stand to waste a lot of time while taking a bigger risk. It is much easier to deal with how to copyright software on your own than it is to work out the complicated world of software patents. If this is your first time designing your own software you have every right to be nervous and excited and scared to death at the same time. Remember lawyers went to school much longer than you in order to know what to do in this situation so you should not be expected to know how to copyright software when you've never done it before.
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Copyright lawyer rating Determining what's in a Copyright Lawyer Rating You can find a copyright lawyer rating these days by doing a quick search online or by subscribing to a mailing list to the copyright lawyer guild. What goes into determining a copyright lawyer rating may be how many cases he/she has won or lost? The person that has won the most cases will be at the top of the rating chart, however someone that just comes in may be at the bottom for lack of experience. If you are searching for a copyright lawyer you will want the best but keep in mind that if they already know their copyright lawyer rating is high, their price might be raised more than the others in the field. So, make sure this is someone you want to represent you or to do your filing. If you are simply getting a copyright you probably don?t have to have the best and can go with your average rating. Someone suing you for copyright infringement or something else means you may want the best; you don?t want one that had a bad copyright lawyer rating. Do you? Today many companies are offering their own little search areas for towns, you might find a whole list of companies that need reviews and chances are those that are all bad rating are from one person. These sites are very new and popping up everywhere, the only way to find out how true the copyright lawyer rating, is by asking them. Another way they do a copyright lawyer rating is by passing out a few sheets of papers with a bunch of copyright lawyers names on them and having their peers rate them. I don?t really consider this fair because someone with the same amount of time and wants to be top in the field may mark their competition down just to get up on top. Not to mention how can they rate them when they may have never heard of them. Do you give that person a bad rating or a one star because you have no clue how they perform? Do you leave it blank? Find out why a copyright lawyer rating got the marks they did. Keep in mind that a client that didn?t win a case can have it out for them and rating them bad or review them as bad in every site that they can, which can cause a big drop in ratings, especially if they are new. Not all lawyers like that fact that just about anyone can rate them online these days, it was easier when their ratings only went with what cases they dealt with, how many they represented and their win/lose streak. There is a website called Martindale, it gives you ratings of many lawyers. This is a great site to come view to find lawyers in all types of fields, not just copyrighting. Explore it, there are a ton of reviews written by lawyers and clients, there are also legal articles, cases, events and much more for you to look at. Don?t forget about the peer ratings, which you can find person most qualified to help you. This is one place that does seem fair when giving out their copyright lawyer rating, they make sure that the top person can only be rated if they?ve been in that field for over 10 years, which makes it fair to a person that has very little experience. They won?t be on the rating list which means they won?t be at the bottom of the list. Remember, if your copyright lawyer rating isn?t up there doesn?t mean he/she is bad, they may have requested not to have it published or may not have been in the field long enough to be judge. The best judge for them will be you.