VigoLex Intellectual Property Lawyer
It is generally known that existence of author’s rights is beyond copyright registration. An author obtains them automatically from the very moment of creation. However, in case of dispute regarding confirmation of authorship, evidence confirming that the object was created as a work result of a certain person(s) is necessary. The primary way to confirm existence of copyrights to created software is its registration according to the statutory procedure. In this article, we will observe major points of copyright registration in Ukraine, USA, and the European Union.
Copyright registration in Ukraine
It is set within legislation, that all software, including operating systems, programs, online services, and program resources, enjoy protection as creative works. Copyright in Ukraine protects only the initial program code (program text, created with coding language) and does not cover program functionality. Legal protection also does not extend to ideas and principles used for their creation.
Registration of copyright to software may be done by a private person (single author or collective of authors), or by an entity (in case the object was created by employee(s) as a result of the main activity).
In Ukraine, the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine has the authority to register copyrights.
Main documents, that are necessary to be rendered by an applicant for copyright registration:
– Signed application for copyright registration in the set standard form;
– Confirming documents about payment of charges for registration;
– Source program code (in hard or soft copy);
– User manual;
– Short description of the computer program.
Application and all accompanying documentation are reviewed during one month since the date of formal acceptance of documents by the Ministry. Copyright registration details are filled in the Public Register of Copyright Registration Certificates. The certificate is issued within a month after the date of registration. Protection of copyrights registered in Ukraine reaches abroad and is applicable within the territories of all 175 countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
Copyright registration in the USA
In the USA, author’s rights for a creative work exist from the moment of its creation. Although the provision of the copyright registration certificate is a compulsory argument during litigation concerning protection of copyright.
In the USA, the copyright registration request must be sent to the United States Copyright Office (the United States Copyright department of the Library of Congress).
The process of registration differs from the one in Ukraine. Firstly, it concerns an object of registration. In Ukraine, the applicant provides the source code and the user manual. In the USA, user manual is considered as separate work, which is liable to registration as well as the source code. If the manual was created by several authors, then every separate chapter is deemed to be a separate work and must have a separate application from each author.
Moreover, in the USA there is a notion of copyright preregistration. It is possible in case if an author is still working on the code but has solid reasons to apply for protection at this point. In such case, it is possible to file only part of the source code for preregistration. The application for registration of the finished work must be filed within 3 months since preregistration.
For copyright registration of software, the applicant must provide information of the author, the source code (in hard or soft copy), and pay the official fees. Issuance of the registration certificate takes, on average, from six to nine months.
Copyright registration in the European Union
Copyright registration in the European Union is not obligatory as well, it is enough for the creative work to be original and expressed in any form.
Copyright registration of software is possible in any country of the European Union. Unlike other jurisdictions, in the EU copyrights to the software are registered by private depository or notary. Mostly, such organizations provide their services online that allow copyright registration within the shortest terms.
The Copyright House should be noted amongst the number of organizations providing services of copyright registration. This depository has its branch offices in many EU countries and renders a large number of services related to copyrights.
For registration with the online service of the Copyright House, it is necessary to provide: the information of the applicant (the author), information of the software, its source code and payment the registration fees. Upon the registration, the applicant receives a digital certificate of the copyrighted work, in which there is information about the author, object and the date of registration.
The digital certificate applies throughout all of the European Union and to the territories of all 175 countries-signatories to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
Summing up afore, while the registration of copyright to software is not obligatory, it is a preferable procedure to warrant the legal protection and comfort to the author. VigoLex lawyers have vast experience in the field of copyright registration in Ukraine and other countries. VigoLex team will conduct all necessary actions for copyright registration, such as:
– consultation on the copyright registration in the country of your choosing;
– preparation of all application materials according to the applicable law;
– payment of all necessary fees;
– full tracking of the application and representation during the registration process;
– receiving of the copyright registration certificate and managing its forwarding in your favor.