Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Computer Science

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering

First Advisor

Dr Timo Vuori

Abstract

Copyright Is the primary means most software authors seek to protect their software. Software, that is work (the ordered expression of thought) put into some tangible form (such a being written down, stored in a computer, programs, data and distributed files) is a truly international product. Where does this copyright protection come from? The current governing laws in Australia are the Australian Copyright Act of 1968 (Cwlth) and the Australian Copyright Amendments Act 1984 (Cwlth) which afford copyright protection to computer software. In copyright law, a number of words and terms have specialised meanings, which are different to their meanings in everyday language. These terms are important for determining the scope of copyright law. Including the types of material that are protected by copyright and the types of activities that infringe copyright, they are examined in this thesis. In Australia, copyright protection to is relatively easily, cheap and has been designed so as to be a powerful deterrent to software pirates, in many nations it is completely automatic. Yet independent research conducted by the Business Software Association of Australia (see Chapter 2) estimated that total losses to the software industry from software piracy In Australia in 1992 could have been as high as $400 million dollars. On this basis alone the clarification of how copyright is applied to afford protection to computer software is a worthy undertaking. Copyright experts around the world are debating, discussing, conferencing, writing and publishing their views on the direction that copyright law must take to meet the challenges posed by the new modes of communication. The only thing that can be agreed upon is that technology has outpaced the effectiveness of the Australia's Software Copyright Laws. Part of this debate today is not about the need for copyright to cover authors from abuse of their work it is about whether software copyright stretches far enough to protect the rights of the authors. In an Australian context this poses the questions: • 'What Is the Australian position on Software Copyright?" • 'What is the Australian position on Software Copyright in the advent of the Information Age?" • "How effective are these positions?" • "How will these positions stand up to challenges?" This thesis, the result of extended descriptive research activity examines these questions in detail. Additionally H considers how the recommendations of the Australian Copyright Law Review Committee for changes to the Australian Copyright Act of 1968 (Cwlth) to afford suitable protection to software and computer programs If enacted in legislation will alter Australia's current position on Software Copyright and impact on the future of the copyright doctrine.

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