Oftentimes people discover that someone else has copied their website, computer program, or computer application online. They want to take action. However, unless they have registered for copyright protection with the US Copyright Office, they cannot file a lawsuit in federal court. Therefore, pursing copyright registration for computer programs and applications is critically important. In order to do so, however, there are many practical and legal decisions that need to be made in order to provide the broadest protection for a website, computer program, or computer application.
As always, copyright protection extends only to the copyrightable expression embodied in the website, computer program, or computer application. No one person can claim copyright protection for ideas, program logic, algorithms, systems, methods, concepts, or layouts. While other kinds of intellectual property protection may be available for those, copyright protection is not.
Since the registration of a copyright is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in federal court for copyright infringement, insuring that the copyright registration is correct typically requires the assistance of a copyright attorney. The copyright attorney can assist you with determining whether or not your computer program contains trade secrets and how the deposit that must accompany any copyright registration can be adjusted accordingly. In addition, a copyright attorney can help you understand whether or not your registration pertains only to your computer program or also to its screen displays. The same holds true for your website if it is providing software online or for your computer application, or app. Finally, a copyright attorney can assist you insuring that all authors and owners of the particular registration have accurately been reflected, and if necessary, agreements have been secured in order to insure that you have the necessary copyright rights in your computer program or other copyrightable item.
Ultimately, copyright registration for computer programs is extremely important. Completing the online application for computer program is one step, but a copyright attorney can insure that you have done what is necessary prior to and after successful registration in order to secure, maintain, and enforce your copyright rights.