India copyright office grants a series of rights to the developer of a computer program that protects his original creation legally. Under the Copyright Act, computer programming codes can be registered as ‘literary works’. As the program is safeguarded by copyrights, each subsequent modification or addition to the code containing sufficient originality will also be protected under the law. Generally, a computer program is preserved not by just one copyright but by a set of copyrights beginning from the first source code written till the last addition by the creator.
Although, source code and object code differ from each other, the copyright office views both of the code forms as equal for registration purposes – maintaining the notion that the source code and object code are just two distinct forms of the same copyrighted program.
Copyright ownership refers to a collection of rights that gives the creator an exclusive right to use the original creation like a song, literary work, movie, or software. It means that the original authors of works and the people/company to whom they have given authorization to are the only ones having exclusive right to reproduce the creation.
Recently, a company director applied for copyrights for his PHP and python program. However, to his surprise, the Indian copyright office started asking for an executable file. It’s a well-known fact that PHP code used in websites does not have an executable file, hence there was no possible way that the director could have provided the executable file for his PHP program. The question still remains how the officials at the Indian copyright office are not aware of the fact that there is no executable file for website code, moreover, why do they even require it in the first place?
In India, the Copyright Act, 1957 grants protection to the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of computer software. As per the definition in the Indian Copyright Act, Computer programs are classified as ‘literary works’. Accordingly, the rights of computer software are protected under the provisions of the Act.