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Copyright & Software Protection 

Our Principal is experienced in running and winning software copyright infringement cases

As a former programmer with over 2 decades of programming experience, our Principal is well placed to win copyright infringement cases regarding software.

Software, or computer programs are protected as a literary work under the Copyright Act.

Not only are computer programs protected because they are a literary work, but specific provisions apply to protect software as a work. If you take certain steps before your software is stolen, you can drastically reduce the cost of enforcing your rights.

Software Theft / Copying Software

Before the software is copied or taken

If you take a few simple steps prior to your software being taken or copied you can:

  • drastically reduce the cost of a software copyright infringement matter
  • easily prove your case to the other party, to entice it to settle the matter quickly
  • show your competitors that you intend to protect the copyright rights in software
  • be prepared for the breach or the copying of your software so you can react swiftly
  • know what software you can protect and what you can’t protect
  • provide you with insurance contacts to protect you with pursuit and defence insurance
  • fix any copyright asset ownership issues you may have. 90% of our software audits reveal the client does not own what they think they own


As the software is taken/copied

If you act quickly when your software is taken or your computer programs are copied we can:

  • anton piller orders to secure evidence in a manner which cannot be avoided by the other party
  • secure evidence immediately and independently so it survives any challenge in Court
  • stop any further development/theft
  • identify the other party
  • put innocent receivers of any material on notice they cannot use it
  • settle a case before the other party has a chance to use the material and cause damage to you and your business


After your computer programs are copied

After the computer programs are copied or taken we can:

  • assist you with PR recovery
  • advise you on what procedures and steps to put in place to stop it occurring again
  • advise you on how to secure your computer programs
  • assist you with any mandatory data breach notifications that may be necessary
  • educate your staff on what to look out for in respect of insider threats
  • educate your staff on how to report issues of computer program theft



Our founding Partner is a former software engineer and has run and won numerous software copyright infringement cases. She has acted for numerous software companies to help them protect their software and source code.

Nicole is a former Director of the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) and on the Queensland Law Society's cybersecurity working group.

We utilise our wide network of forensic experts who have a proven track record of giving qualified and expert advice for the Courts. We understand who makes a convincing witness and how does not.

Case list:

Copyright & Software Protection Facts

Copyright protects the code not the function

Copyright protects the expression of the idea, not the idea itself. This means that:

  • Copyright will not protect the function of the source code – look at obtaining a Patent for that software protection
  • Another trader can take an idea from your computer program and create a competing product without infringing copyright
  • software development projects will often involve competitor analysis. Expect your competitors to follow your lead
Substantial Part

Copyright in a work will not be infringed unless a substantial part of the work is taken/copied/used:

  • this is a test of quality not quantity
  • there is no blanket 10% change rule that somehow magically works to protect you from all forms of infringement
  • you can infringe a work by taking a very small portion – some cases have found infringement where only 5% of a work is taken
  • infringement can occur through using source code to develop other source code – even in a different coding language – this is known as the stepping stone principle
Copyright Information

Software and Copyright Law:

  • copyright does not apply to all things – for example it does not apply to works that are automatically created – but may protect the source code that generates that material
  • copyright does not protect against independent creation
  • Australia does not have a general use copyright exception – we have specific fair use provisions
  • we have specific copyright provisions that relate to computer programs
  • you cannot register copyright in Australia – no matter how much the con-artists swear you can
  • copyright infringement in computer programs can be a criminal act


When is Copyright infringed

Copyright rights are infringed when a person does a thing comprised in an act of copyright which includes (amongst other things):

  • reproducing the work in material form
  • publish the work
  • perform the work in public
  • communicate the work to the public
  • make an adaptation of the work (in some cases)


What if you do not have a Copyright Infringement Case?

The vast majority of cases we run regarding the copying of computer programs or the theft of source code involve other claims that are not related to copyright. These include vicarious liability claims against employers, misuse of confidential information cases, breaches of the Corporations Act, breaches of fiduciary duties and breaches of employment contracts.

Your case isn’t over, just because you don’t have a copyright infringement case.


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