This post was published on September 01, 2014.
In continuation to the previous post in this series, we will today be looking into copyright protection of computer software. As discussed in the previous post, Copyright Law came as an answer to the protection of computer programs at a time when the importance of Trade Secret Law for the same was dwindling.
A computer program, being composed of source codes can be brought under the ambit of literary works in Copyright Law. The basic principle governing Copyright Law is the idea / expression dichotomy. As per this principle, Copyright Law only protects the expression of ideas and not the ideas per se. While talking about the principle of the idea / expression dichotomy, it should be admitted that there has always been a lack of clarity regarding what constitutes an idea and what constitutes an expression. This inherent lack of clarity in Copyright Law combined with the complexity of a computer program prevents Copyright Law from being an effective system of protection.