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What does the protection of computer software copyright cover?
The computer software copyright is intended to protect the computer software except for the thoughts, processes, operation methods or math concepts involved in the software development.
Definition of computer software
The computer software refers to the computer programs and other related documentation.
Computer programs refer to the coded instructional sequences or the symbolic instructional sequences or numeric language sequences which can be automatically converted into coded instructional sequences, which are for the purpose of obtaining a certain result and which are operated on information processing equipment such as computers. The source code text of a piece of software and its object code text should be seen as one work.
Documentation refers to written materials and diagrams which are used to describe the contents, organization, design, functions and specifications, development circumstances, testing results and method of use of the program, for example: program design explanations, flow charts, user manuals, etc.
How to determine the ownership of software copyright?
1. The software copyright belongs to the software developer, namely the legal persons or other organizations which arrange software development, directly develop software and take responsibility for the developed software, or the natural persons which independently develop the software and take responsibility for the developed software.
2. Where software is jointly developed, the ownership of software copyright shall be determined in accordance with the written agreement among software co-developers. If there’s no written agreement or if it is not clearly stipulated in the contract, and if the jointly developed software can be used in separate parts, the co-developers can separately enjoy the copyright on the parts they’ve developed. If the jointly developed software can’t be used in separate parts, the co-developers shall jointly enjoy the software copyright.
3. The copyright of software which is commissioned to be developed by another person, shall be governed by any written agreement signed between the person who commissioned the work and the person who undertook the commission; if there is no written agreement or if it is not clearly stipulated in the contract, the copyright shall be enjoyed by the person undertaking the commission.
4. The copyright of software which is developed pursuant to tasks assigned by government department shall be based on stipulations contained in the project task document or contract; if not clearly stipulated in the project task document or contract, the copyright belongs to the legal person or other organization to which the task was assigned.
5.If the software developed by a natural person during his or her employment with the legal person or other organization is found in any of the following situations, the software copyright shall be enjoyed by such legal person or other organization concerned:
-- Software developed as part of his or her own work in accordance with the clearly stipulated development goal;
-- Software developed as the predictable or natural result of his or her own work;
-- Software development which involves the technologies and materials of legal person or other organization like fund, special equipment and secret information, and causes the responsibilities of legal person or other organization.
What rights do the software copyright owners enjoy?
Considering the limitation of expression options, the newly developed software shall not be deemed as violating the copyright of any existing software through the former shares some resemblance to the latter.
When can the computer software be used without prior approval from software copyright owner, or without making payment?
There’s no need to solicit an approval from or make payments to the software copyright owner if the software is installed, displayed, transmitted or stored for the sake of learning and studying the design thoughts and principles contained in the software.
What rights do the legal holders of the software reproductions enjoy?
1. Install and use in the information-processing devices like computer according to the needs of use;
2. Make a backup copy for the purpose of maintaining reproduction;
3. Carry out necessary revisions for the purpose of using the said software in the real computer environment or improving its performance.
Does the software reproduction holder’s unaware use of illegal software reproduction infringe upon the software copyright?
If a software reproduction holder is unaware that or has no reasonable basis to believe that the software reproduction infringes on a software copyright, he or she shall be exempt from any responsibility for compensation. However, such holder has a duty to discontinue the use of and destroy the illegal software reproduction. If the software reproduction user has to suffer a considerable loss as a result, he or she may start the legal use once the necessary payment has been paid to the software copyright owner.