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Software copyright statement
A Software Copyright Statement Protects Current and Future Works
If you have a site that is dedicated to the sharing and distribution of open source software it is a great idea to have a software copyright statement that explains the limits of use for your software as well as the limits of your responsibility for those uses. I also recommend getting an attorney to look over the statement before posting it just to be sure there are no legal issues that you may be unaware of.
A software copyright statement doesn't have to be a 10 page booklet on the law or the protections that copyright offers, it should be a simple short paragraph stating the basics and hopefully covering your rear from litigation and/or responsibility should someone use the software you are allowing them to use for something insanely stupid or frighteningly criminal while establishing your ownership of the material and expectations of those you are allowing to use your creation.
This for some is a no brainer because they've done it before and know the ropes. There are new software developers born and made each and every day and this type of software copyright statement may serve to save them a little grief of their own some day. If you are being kind enough to freely share the software you created with others, you'd like to think that they would at least return the favor of using it within the letter of the law or the manner in which it was intended. This, however, is rarely the case so protecting yourself, your copyright, and your future interests by posting a software copyright statement on your website is really the best way to go in a situation such as this.
Trust me I'm not trying to talk anyone out of sharing his or her software with the world. I rather like open source software and admit to using it freely (no pun intended). I love saving money almost as much as I love playing around with new technology. Software allows me to do that and find likes and dislikes about all kinds of programs. Issuing a software copyright statement is one way of protecting your investment of time, effort, energy, and sheer brilliance in the making and design of your technological masterpiece. Hopefully that flattery will keep you going a bit longer at any rate.
It is important to know that a software copyright statement is only part of the process required to protect your software but for the most part poses a significant deterrent to those that would abuse your copyright and/or your kindness in allowing the distribution of your software. Even if you are charging people for the use of your software (we are a nation of capitalists after all) you still need to protect the labor you have put into making not only the software but the distribution method, the website, the payment method and the thousands of other things that are part and parcel of the business model for your software distribution. Your software copyright statement is a very small protection for your software don't expect it to be the brunt of your protection.
Most of the software developers, coders, and programmers (and any other name you wish to call them) that I know aren't as concerned nearly as much about associating their name with the products they create as they are with protecting future potential income from both the products they are currently designing and the future, improvements they will make to the software and the much improved finished product that comes later. By protecting all your work with a software copyright statement you are not only protecting current works but future works as well.
Software copyright Software Copyright Difficult to Enforce For those of you who love computer games, you probably know more about software copyright than you ever thought you'd want to know-especially if you have or have ever owned multiple computers. Most new games not only come with special copyrights but also built in security features that are designed to enforce those copyrights. Some have even gone so far as selling you the right to 'use' the material you are purchasing rather than providing you with actual ownership of the software to which they own the software copyright. That bothered me a bit at first, but I've come to understand it's another way of protecting them and their rights as well as controlling or limiting how you use the software they provide. Software copyright is actually quite confusing and hotly debated. Many stores will not accept opened software as returns because the software companies won't reimburse them for the product and they are left holding the bag. It doesn't sound like much but when you think of literally thousands of consumers attempting to return opened software because they didn't like or worse, they only needed to download and install it for it to actually run. Companies that produce computer software have become savvy to the ways of the modern consumer. Those companies that produce computer games especially require that the disk actually be in your player in order for the game to operate properly. This enforced the software copyright to the extent that two people can't reasonably share ownership of the same game, as they both need an actual disk in order to operate the games. But for every solution there is a hacker or budding programmer that creates a new problem for software makers and holders of software copyright to face. One of the latest problems is the virtual CD. The long and short of this is that the computer is tricked into 'seeing' the CD where it should be and carries out the game as though it were. Another important thing to note about software copyright is that there are many programs available that mimic some of the more notable applications for no fee. These are often referred to as open source software and often have excellent if not superior quality to similar programs that are available for fees. One thing I've noticed is that I will often find free open source software, download it, love it and a few months later I will find a more polished version of the same software, by the same company available with a few more bells and whistles for a fee. The new improved software has a software copyright and is not free to consumers but it is also a much better version than what I currently have. It's a great way for new software developers to make names for themselves and get volunteers for the testing process of their development phase. A software copyright offers protection and recognition to the owner of the software. The problem with protecting software is that it is impossible to police properly. That would require walking into every home on the planet and checking each computer to make sure there are no duplicate copies extra copies, illegal copies, etc. Plus, who keeps the actual boxes from all their software? I certainly do not. I could never prove that I was honoring the software copyright if the packaging or receipts were the only way I have of doing so. Most people in the world today honestly want to do the right thing. Software is one of the most expensive purchases people will often make for their home computers, it only makes sense to buy actual copies that have an actual software copyright in order to protect your investment not only in your software but also in your computer.
Copyright Music Infringement Copyright Music Infringement is Not Preferred Method for Music Lovers In recent years, copyright music infringement has seen an unprecedented leap in scope and scale. This is largely due to online services that allowed unchecked file sharing among their subscribers. While this abuse of copyright is not by any means limited to music, this is where the most profound effects of file sharing have been observed. Industry giants of file sharing are cropping up left and right with the demise of the pioneer for illicit file sharing, Napster. The Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA) has made copyright music infringement their primary cause to fight. They estimate that peer-to-peer file sharing takes around 4.2 billion dollars each year worldwide from the coffers of the music industry. I really cannot blame them that is a fairly large chunk of change. The problem with their estimates however is the assumption that people would actually buy every piece of music they download or that they aren't buying the music they would have bought at any rate. While I by no means condone copyright music infringement or any other copyright infringement I do believe they are overestimating the damage to the industry that is being done by these file-sharing programs. One of the primary arguments that the RIAA is using in order to, hopefully, discourage people from not supporting their favorite groups and artists by buying their recordings, is the fact that new and struggling bands are less likely to continue making music because it will no longer be profitable. The bulk of musician's incomes are the result of royalties, which depend entirely on the sales of their albums. The RIAA is using the legal system to back them up by taking the fight to court. Recent claims made by the RIAA include one rather controversial claim that people ripping CDs they have bought and paid for does not constitute fair use because CDs are not "unusually subject to damage" and that if they do become damaged they can be replaced affordably. This assertion has raised more than a few eyebrows and is giving rise to opponents of the RIAA who claim that the lawsuits and crackdowns against those presumed guilty of copyright music infringement are actually hurting music sales and the profits of the music industry. During the height of Napster popularity (the hallmark by which all file sharing seems to be compared) CD sales were at their highest rate ever. People were exposed to music and groups they otherwise may not have heard without file sharing. As a result of enjoying the music by these groups people went out and actually bought the CDs of the music they enjoyed. It's ironic that the very lawsuits designed to stop copyright music infringement have actually managed to stifle file sharing enough that CD sales are dropping noticeably around the world. Opponents and critics also challenge that rather than being a source of copyright music infringement, peer 2 peer networks offer unprecedented exposure for new artists and their music. Another argument against the RIAA is that the real reason for the lawsuits against file sharer is because they want to keep the prices for CDs over inflated while keeping the actual royalties coming to the artists relatively low. The copyright music infringement claims made by the RIAA have become suspect. The music industry is currently working on ways where fans can legally download music. This will mean that fans have access to the music they love from their PCs and directly to their music playing devices without resorting to illegal copyright music infringement. The truth is that most people want to do the right thing and given viable alternative will elect to do so.