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Copyrighting Your LabVIEW software


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Have any of you obtained a US Copyright for software you developed in LabVIEW?

 

If so, did you file your software copyright as "Literary Work" or "Work of the Visual Arts"?

 

To provide context, here is some actual language from the US Copyright Office circular:

 

Because computer programs are literary works, registration as a Literary Work is usually appropriate.  However, if pictorial or graphic authorship predominates, registration as a "Work of the Visual Arts" may be made.

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I think you may have problems getting feedback as it is really a question for lawyers. I will say, however, that I have software that I own the copyright to and I have not registered it in either the US Copyright Office or the UK Copyright Office (the latter is more applicable to me) but at least it is an answer..

 

I think in your case just send them an email and ask or choose one and they will tell you if it is wrong but my interpretation of your snippet is that it would be "Literary Work" unless it is something like billboard software.  Software is recognised as "Literary Work" in many international agreements and "Work of the Visual Arts" just sounds like they are trying shoehorn media copyright such as public displays and performance into a separate section for software.

 

So it depends. What does your software do?

Edited by ShaunR
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  • 2 weeks later...

It is true that you don't actually have to register your software in order to obtain copyright protection.  Copyright protection exists "automatically" as soon as you create the work.  However, if you DO register it (in the US at least), you are entitled to recover far more damages in the event of a willful infringement.  This means that you can actually find a lawyer to accept your copyright infringement case on a contingency fee basis, and don't have to front a huge wad of money to fight a willful infringer.

 

If you DON'T register your software, you are only "protected" to the extent that you have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank waiting to be spent on legal fees.

 

Additionally, you want to make sure that you provide legally correct notification of the copyright on the software itself.  If you don't do this, then an infringer can claim "innocent infringer" status, which is a lot different than "willful infringement".  Again, it will be a lot easier to find a lawyer to take your case if it is willful infringement of a work that is officially registered with the copyright office.

 

So you really want to formally register your software if you are trying to make a living off it.  Registration only costs $35 out-of-pocket. 

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