Navigating IT and copyright issues

Author: Douglas-Jones Mercer.

Date: January 15th 2017

Computer hardware is much like any other product, when you purchase it, you’re the outright owner of the asset.

Issues can arise when purchasing software, as it often isn’t a tangible asset but a transfer of files from the creator to the purchaser.

The software is known as intangible intellectual property and will be protected by copyright law, which prevents it from being replicated by another company. When purchasing software, you own a licence that allows you to use the software within the guidelines of the licence, but the copyright still remains with the creator.

If you commission a bespoke programme for your company, you should be sure that the contract names you as the owner of the copyright of the software or you will be unable to make any changes to the software without permission, which could result in further payments to the developer for any alterations. The developer could also stop you using the software at any time.

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