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This article is written by Tharoon Thangavel, pursuing a Certificate Course in Intellectual Property Law and Prosecution from LawSikho.

An outline of Copyright protection for computer generated works

Software is promoted either through outdated channels or distributed from a website with a license agreement. Such a procedure generates numerous possibilities for illegal copying of software. Statutory protection of software is one of the important things. Most of the countries have improved their copyright laws to comprise software within its domain. Several copyright laws were prolonged to hold computer generated works. Since the first group of computer generated works sheltered by copyright. This article studies several scenarios of new types of computer generated works. This includes background consideration and comparison of artificial intelligence and ML (machine learning). While every so often commercially significant, queries arise as to whether these innovative appearances of copyright works are really protected under copyright at all. Under copyright laws, protection is accessible only to the expression of an idea and not to the idea itself. The purpose of copyright protection in a computer program is not the fundamental idea, however the computer phonological used to express that idea.

International bodies for software protection

  • TRIPs
  • Berne Convention
  • The Universal Copyright Convention (“UCC”) Geneva, Switzerland, 1952
  • World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WPPT, 1996
  • European Community Directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (ECD)

Copyright circumstantial 

The principled artistic copyright clinch has prolonged over time. Indeed the marketable copyright clinch has also expanded. One feature of the growth relates to software programs and software establishments. This comprehends direct social creations of computer programs and the like. Nevertheless, this could not protect extra down-the-line subsidiary computer made or computer generated works that are theoretically generated by the computer as conflicting to the person. In order to defend such down-the-line computer generated works the copyright rule would have to increase yet additional. Due to this problem, there are samples of additional direct copyright allowances to cover this problem of computer created works being made however lacking protection. 

Several copyright laws have been extensive in order to clinch and identify the presence of and to defend computer created works. The development to defend computer produced works has existed for certain ages. It is advantageous, if not progressively essential, to now reflect that the world of such computer created works has also prolonged over a period, although over a more compacted chronological timespan. The matter now is that those developments happened quite a certain period before.

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Indian perspective for protection of computer generated work

Copyright was generally related with artistic goods, however nowadays furthermore to all this copyright is now a significant tool in protecting computer software. The entire determination of copyright law is to defend the interests of the creator. Copyright act is anticipated to protect the ethical and monetary rights of the author. Miller (one of the great Legal Scholar) has noted that the rationale for copyright is to offer encouragement for creators to make copyrightable works. It is supposed to provide enticements for the maker to create more unique content which is valuable for the people and also revenue from these creations.

The Copyright Act, 1957 offers copyright protection for unique works of authorship fixed in any concrete average of communication. The Act gives the copyright owner’s exclusive rights over the reproduction, preparation of derivative works, distribution. It is not a requirement to take stages after the work has been shaped and stable in tangible mode for copyright to happen. But a recording of copyright in a work is essential to continue with an act for breach of it.

In general, Computer software that may not have a methodological effect is protected under copyright law. For protection of the copyright, computer software wants to be unique and adequate effort and ability must be placed into conveying its uniqueness. However a program that only produces proliferation algorithms may not serve the degree of exertion, mandatory for protection. Apart from being unique not copied from somewhere else, the work must be first in print in India or if the work is issued outside of India, the writer on the date of book or if the writer is dead at the period of his death must be an Indian citizen. In case of unissued work, the writer on the date of creating of a work must be an India citizen or domiciled in India.

Protection of Computer Programs

The origin of protection as literary work is that the work should not be copied from another work, however must be the unique work of the writer. Writer, with favor to computer software, is the person who originates the work to be generated. Copyright survives in a computer program delivered adequate skill has been expended to give it a unique character. But, a computer program, which does no more than generate the multiplication tables, cannot lay right to the protection of the copyright. It is because the amount of ability desirable for such an implement is too irrelevant. The following steps involved in Computer Programs:

  • Generating the conceptual preliminary material;
  • Generating the source-code (script the program in particular programming language);
  • Generating the object-code (interpreting the program from source-code in a language logical to the appliance);
  • Generating the user manuals.

Machine learning and AI 

One of the additional new attentions in relation to copyright and computer generated works contains the growth of ML (machine learning) and AI (artificial intelligence). Machine learning and AI are sought to be applied to the internet, robotics, cloud computing, medicine, travel & lodging, AI drones, social interacting facial recognition and several other deeds. There are numerous areas, actions and decisions where it is planned that humans can be taken out of the process, including legal judgment creating and legal guidance. Despite the fact there are many matters elevated, copyright is one of these. According to the Copyright Act, 1957 Section 2(o) both the object code and the source code of Artificial Intelligence applications are protected as literacy works.

Copyright and Computer generated Programs

India has one of the most fashionable protections of the copyright laws across the globe. Most important development in the part of copyright during 1999 was the alteration to the Copyright Act of 1957 to brand it fully well-matched with the rations of the TRIPS.

Copyright, in relative to a computer program means that the exclusive right to approve to do any of the subsequent acts:

  • To replicate the effort in any substantial form including the storing of it in any intermediate by electronic means;
  • To publish copies of the effort to the public not being copied previously in rotation;
  • To do the effort in public, or connect it to the public;
  • To create any cinematographic film;
  • To create any sound recording;
  • To create any translation of the effort;
  • To create any adaptation of the effort;

To look after any of the above-listed acts associated with the computer program or to utilize it, a license is mandatory from its possessor. Any person who significantly makes use of an infringing print of a computer program is answerable to be penalized with imprisonment (minimum seven days to three years and with fine of minimum fifty thousand rupees).

Numerous cases have considered the problem of whether copyright exists in works created by computer programs or databases. In Telstra v Phone Directories Case, the petitioners argued that the documents created by their corresponding computer systems were an original literary work. This case considered the determination of authorship and determination of originality of a computer generated work.

Software Agreements and Actions not amounting to Breach

Software agreements, like many other dealings, are administered by the mutual law principal as personified in the Indian Contract Act. Contract may be in the nature of sale or assignment/ license. In Tata Consultancy Services v. State of Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court deliberated computer software is a one kind of intellectual property, whether it is transported in diskettes, magnetic tapes, floppy or CD ROMs, whether reproduced or not, whether it approaches as part of computer or autonomously, whether it is exclusive or unbranded, tangible or intangible; is a commodity proficient of being conveyed, deposited, treated, etc. and so as a ‘good’ legally responsible to sale tax. The court specified that, ‘it would turn into goods on condition that it has the characteristics thereof having concerns to (a) its ability; (b) proficient of being bought and sold; and (c) proficient of being conveyed, deposited and influenced. If a software whether modified or non-customized fulfils these characteristics, the same would be good.

In acquiescence with the supplies of the TRIPS, the Act has explained that the subsequent acts do not establish breach of copyright in software:

  • Generating copies or alteration of a computer program by a legal bearer of a print of such computer program from such print so as to use the program for the resolve for which it was provided or to create tie-up copies decently as a short-term protection against damage, devastation in order to use the computer program for the resolve for which it was delivered.
  • Doing any act essential to get information for working inner-operability of a self-sufficiently created computer program with other programs by a legal owner of a computer program delivered that such kind of information is not or else freely accessible.
  • Remark, study or test of working of the computer program with the aim of regulating the ideas and values that emphasize any features of the program while execution such entertainments needed for which the computer program was provided.
  • Creating duplicates or reworking of the computer program from a personally legally obtained print for non-commercial personal use.


In India, computer software may not form the theme of patents as the condition of the patent law is that the procedure should result in something tangible. Still not many in India demand software protection, it is a much required protection considering the development of the IT (Information Technology) business in the country. India has espoused most of the details of the international bodies discussed and has combined its own act on the protection of the software based on the basics of these bodies. The copied and reproduced software disturbs all software users. There is a requirement for robust legal protection. The main protection for computer software in India is established in the Copyrights Act, 1957. There are cases relating to protection of software in India, most of them with MC (Microsoft Corporation) as the aggrieved event. With the development of the importance of software in each business, more and more corporations need protection under the lawful system to remove and halt software piracy.



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