Registering software copyright

Fact sheet P-28: Registering software

Issued: 3rd December 2009
Last amended: 3rd December 2009
  1. Software copyright ownership

    You will be the copyright owner of software that you have created in your own right as this is your automatic right as the creator of the work. For software created during the course of employment, it is normally the employer that owns copyright, subject to any agreement to the contrary. Software created on a freelance/commission basis will by default belong to the creator, but check your contract/agreement as ownership and IP rights should be covered in the terms of the work being carried out.

  2. What to register

    In terms of registration, the most important thing to cover is the source code (for the purpose of copyright software is primarily protected as a literary work), you should therefore submit a full copy of the source code with your application. You can also include any compiled executable(s) to demonstrate the finished ‘look and feel’, plus documentation, artwork, user manual, etc. that relates to the software.

  3. How to register

    Copyright registration can be carried out either online or by postal application.

    Online registration is cheaper and will provide immediate cover for your work.

    If there is a large amount of data, or if you have a slow or unreliable Internet connection, you may wish to consider a postal application instead.

    1. Registering by postal application

      If you are submitting by postal application, you should simply send the files on a CD, DVD, BD or USB drive with your application form and payment.

    2. Registering online

      If you intend to register online, and there are a number of files (as is typical with source code), you should use an archiver such as WinZipWinRar/Rar7-ZipStuffIt, or Tar to convert the source code files to a single archive, and upload this archive file when you register - this will ensure that the directory structure of the project is preserved

      We will accept any type of compressed archive files, although we recommend that a non-proprietary format (i.e. .zip, .tar.gz) is used. As with all electronic files you should choose common formats to ensure that software to read the files will be available in the future.

      Please be patient while uploading as most domestic ADSL lines will upload at around 1 to 2MB/minute, see our upload advice page for more details.

  4. Common questions
    1. Can future versions of the software be added to the registration later?

      Yes. It is possible to add updates to a registration as a project evolves over time. Updates to an already registered work are charged at a reduced rate, for more details please see our factsheet Updating Copyright Registrations.

    2. Are encrypted files allowed?

      Submitting the source code as an encrypted zip archive (or other encrypted format) is perfectly acceptable and there would be no problem in accepting your work in this format.