Computer software protection is a strategy that is aimed at preserving the integrity of a software program by legally protecting the code and other features associated with a particular program. Considered an important part of copyright law as it relates to the development and distribution of software products, this type of protection controls the use of the software, the rights and responsibilities of the copyright owners, and provides clear guidelines for the leasing and development of ancillary products. Typically, computer software protection involves not only the final product itself, but the proprietary data that was used in the development and any copyrights that are secured during the developmental stages.
The idea behind this type of protection is to make it possible for developers to create new PC software products that attract the interest of consumers with relatively few fears of their work being utilized without proper authorization. This approach means that the owners of a copyright for a given type of software will have control over the applications of that product, any customization that may be allowed for the creation of ancillary products, and even when and how the product is available for downloads. Protecting the interests of owners by protecting the software products is thought to encourage ongoing development of newer versions that make improvements and add features as time goes on, increasing the value of the software in the marketplace.
Copyright laws in various countries typically include provisions for computer software protection along with the protection of all intellectual property associated with the software. Depending on the nature of those laws, stiff penalties may be invoked when and as a violation of those software copyright laws is identified. Along with fines and court-ordered compensation to the copyright owners, there is also the possibility of facing some type of prison sentence if an individual is found guilty of infringing on a copyright.
The specifics of computer software protection will vary, making it necessary to identify copyright protections in the jurisdiction where the copyright is recorded and managed. It is not unusual for software developers to make use of a number of different copyrights over different processes that are created and used in the development of the final software product, as well as the software itself. Doing so makes it easier to use those same processes with later versions or even with software that is developed for use in tandem with a pre-existing product. As long as the proprietary software and intellectual property is utilized in harmony with the terms of the copyright, that use is considered in compliance with current laws and regulations.