Copyright Compendium

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2313.3 Registration Distinguished from the Computer Shareware Registry

2313.3 Registration Distinguished from the Computer Shareware Registry

Recording a document pertaining to computer shareware is optional, but it is not a substitute for registering the copyright in a computer program. In particular, it does not provide copyright owners with the ability to claim statutory damages or attorney’s fees under Section 412 of the Copyright Act. Nor does it create a presumption concerning the validity of the copyright in a shareware program.

Likewise, recording a document pertaining to shareware is not a substitute for recording a document that transfers ownership of the copyright in a shareware program, such as an assignment, exclusive license, security interest, or other type of transfer. If the copyright in a shareware program has been transferred, that document should be recorded as a transfer of ownership under Section 205 of the Copyright Act, rather than a document pertaining to shareware. Recording a license or other document pertaining to shareware does not provide constructive notice against a subsequent bona fide purchaser of the same rights. It simply creates a public record concerning the terms of use for that program.

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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