Registering software

Fact sheet P-28

Issued: 3rd December 2009
Last amended: 17th August 2020
Fact sheet P-28: Registering software code/apps
  1. Apps on a mobile deviceSoftware 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 first convert you source code files into a single archive (typically a .zip file) and upload that file when you register - this will ensure that the directory structure of the project is preserved.

      On most desktop operating systems, the ability to create zip files should be already available to you without installing any extra software, see our guide on zip files for instructions, but 3rd party applications such as WinZipWinRar/Rar7-ZipStuffIt are can also be used and may offer more advanced features.

      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 larger files as most domestic ADSL lines will upload just a few MB/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 fact sheet 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.