copyrighting my work

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by liptonlover, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #1
    I can't find/figure out how to copyright my apps... all I know (I think) is that a fee is involved. Can anyone help me?
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    As far as I am aware anything you right is automatically copyrighted. Just like if you write prose, take a picture etc.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #3
    So I can legally put up a copyright notice, and sue anyone who tries to copy my work? I thought I had to go through a copyright office or something like that. The legal system does like evidence, proof of purchase, etc..
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Well a very quick Google search indicates you don't have to register anything for it to be copyrighted, but, in the US at least, you have to register before you can sue anyone.

    Edited to add: but this hasn't stopped people including the EFF from suing people for copying FOSS software which is unlikely to have been registered...

    If you're really that worried seek the advice of a lawyer specialising in the field.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    lee1210

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #5
    you might be thinking of a registered trademark or a patent. Copyright, in the US at least, is conferred at the time of creation. Registering your copyright puts you in better legal standing, but the copyright exists independent of its registration. IANAL, so consult one if you think it is really needed.

    -Lee
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    italiano40

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    NY
    #6
    i agree, even my scripts, web sites and programs are copyrighted
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #7
    There's always the poor man's copyright, burn your stuff to CD/DVD then mail it to yourself.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #8
    I just get confused with all this stuff.... I just want to have all the rights, in court of law if necessary, to my app.

    How does mailing it to yourself work? It'd be easy enough to forge having mailed it to yourself if you know enough about that stuff.
     
  9. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #9
    Send it by recorded delivery so that you have to sign for it.
     
  10. macrumors G5

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #10
    You have copyright on anything you write, you don't have to do anything to have a copyright. If you sue someone, having proof is quite good. Registration with the copyright office is taken as evidence of copyright, but you could have other evidence (burn a CD, put it in a sealed envelope and mail it to yourself. Do NOT open the envelope!).

    If a company copies your software, you may not necessarily need proof that you wrote the software. Companies have many employees that you could force to testify in court, and if I personally had the choice of telling the truth in court and costing my company a million dollars, or lying, which means jail time if I get caught, I would choose telling the truth. (On the other hand, if my company ever caught a developer using someone else's source code without checking with our lawyers, they would be in deep trouble).
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #11
    Ok thanks. But I'm not just talking about the code, it's the idea of the game. Can that even be copyrighted?
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    italiano40

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    NY
    #12
    let me tell you go get a patient to protect your idea
     
  13. Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #13
    a patent
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #14
    That may work for copyrights but for patents it (poor man's patent) will not stand up in court.
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #15
    When the world was creating copyrights, trademarks and patents, the lines seemed fairly definite. If you didn't want someone making something you just invented, you needed a patent. If you didn't want someone stealing some form of expression, you needed a copyright. And trademarks were literally marks you used in trade.

    Things might have already been a little bit screwed up before computers came along, but you can bet the digital age hastened the total screwage of the copyright-trademark-patent system.

    Code is a form of expression, which should be copywritten, right? But the code makes a product that does something, which means a patent, right? And no new killer app is worth its weight in electrons if it doesn't have some new buzzword, so you need a trademark, right?

    Now shoehorn your problem into this universe ... I hate to say it, but you're beyond the ken of the folks on this board. Not to say there aren't wise souls here ... just that it seems you've got an idea you want to protect, so you don't want to blab it to the world over an open Internet discussion. And without specifics, it's hard to offer advice. (At least from my POV. I know a thing or two about copyrights in general; zilch about patents.)

    If you really want to feel safe about your creation, you probably ought to invest in a lawyer. You can share confidentially what you've got in mind and he/she should be able to spell out how to protect it, and estimate how much it's going to cost. (Copyrights are virtually free, patents far from it.)

    Lawyers ain't cheap, but your local bar association might have some pro bono basic biz program that can guide you.

    Probably too many words ... sorry

    mt
     
  16. macrumors G5

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #16
    An idea cannot be protected. Only the expression of an idea can be copyrighted, and the implementation of an idea can in some cases be patented. So if you tell us about your great idea for an iPhone application, I and everyone else can take that idea, write an iPhone application, and beat you to the market.
     

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