Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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2313.1 What Is Computer Shareware?


2313.1 What Is Computer Shareware?


Shareware is a method for marketing computer programs, rather than a specific type of program. Under this approach, the copyright owner distributes copies of his or her program to third parties to give potential users the opportunity to test and review the program. If a user decides to use the program, that person may be required to register his or her use with the copyright owner and to pay a registration fee. Typically, the party that owns the copyright in the computer program generates income through these registration fees, which tend to be lower than the purchase price for similar programs that are sold through commercial channels.


NOTE: Electronic databases or other works of authorship are not considered computer shareware. See H.R. REP. NO. 101-735, at 17 (1990), reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6935, 6948.


See generally General Provisions–Computer Shareware Registry, 58 Fed. Reg. 29,105 (May 19, 1993); General Provisions–Registry of Documents Pertaining to Computer Shareware and the Donation of Public Domain Software, 56 Fed. Reg. 50,657 (Oct. 8, 1991).


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