What is Software Copyright?

When someone creates an original piece of software, that person then holds something called the copyright for that software. (This is also true when people create books, films and songs.)

Holding the copyright for software means that you have the protection of the law if anyone tries to steal your software.

Under copyright law, people must not:
  • Copy the software for other people
  • Lend the software to other people
  • Rent the software to other people
  • Install the software on a network when other users can access it (unless it is a special ‘network’ version)
If someone breaks the copyright, they can be punished by fines or even by imprisonment.

The reason for this is that creating software can involve the work of many people and may take thousands of hours. It is only fair that all of this effort is protected
Illegally copying software is often referred to as software piracy.

If you make a copy of a game for a friend, get the latest version of Windows from a dodgy shop, or ‘borrow’ some software from work, you are probably breaking the law.
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For example, a team of 120 people put in over 1 million person-hours of work to create the game Halo 3. The development of the game took over three years.

That’s a huge amount of time and effort, and the company that created the game ought to be paid for their work. Paying a few dollars for a game that took so much effort to create actually seems like pretty good value!

Sorry to ask you this, but...


This site took quite a bit of time and effort to create, and it costs me money to keep it up and running. If the site has helped you, please consider showing your appreciation by donating a little towards the site's running costs.

Thank you!

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