Copyright gives the creators of some types of media rights to control how they're used and distributed. Music, books, video and softwaresoftwareA general term used to describe an application or a program. can all be covered by copyright law.

Copyright law

Limitations imposed by copyright

When you buy software, for example, copyright law forbids you from:

  • giving a copy to a friend
  • making a copy and then selling it
  • using the software on a networknetworka group of interconnected computers (unless the licencesoftware licencea legal agreement between the company who published the software and the end user covering areas such as copyright allows it)
  • renting the software without the permission of the copyright holder

The law that governs copyright in the UK is called the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Prevention of software piracy

Software companies take many steps to stop softwarepiracypiracyacquiring, profiting from, using or making changes to copyrighted material without prior permission:

  • An agreement between the company that developed the software and the user must be agreed before the software is installed. This is called the license agreement and covers copyright.
  • Certain pieces of software require a unique licence key to be entered before the installation will continue.
  • Some applications or programsprograma list of instructions written in a programming language will only run if the media (CD [Compact Disc (CD)used to store data, eg music CD ] / DVDDigital Versatile Disc (DVD):used


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