Copyright patents act

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Copyright Patents Act

What is it?

The copyright patents act of 1988 states that it is illegal to copy software without the permission of the person/company that owns the copyright of the software. The copyright holder is usually the author of the software.

Illegal copying of software reduces the income to software companies. Having invested money in producing the software, these companies need to earn income from software sales to make profits.

Offences which are outlawed by the act:

  • Unauthorised copying of software.
  • The selling of software that is known to be copied.
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There are some very serious actions which a court can use on anyone breaking the law. These include:


  • The copying or sale of copied software can mean a prison sentence of up to two years and a large fine.
  • Being in possession of a device designed to copy software can mean a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to £2000.
  • Compensation is also often awarded to the software company that has had its software copied.

Despite the fact that copying software is illegal many people still do it. ...

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