Deposits of computer programs for copyright

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  • If I deposit a computer program with the US copyright office in source code form in order to register my program, do I loose protection as well?
    Meaning -
    Can someone simply request a copy of my source code from the US Copyright Office, thereby using it or portions of it for their own program? Or they can simply read how I accomplished specific tasks and thereby they could easily create their own program easily and compete against me.
    It would seem hard and expensive to make sure no one is using my source code.
    Thank you for your opinion.
  • We can't give legal advice about a specific situation.

    Looking at your issue, you don't lose copyright protection by registering. Once your program is out there, people can attempt to use ideas you've had (because ideas are not protected by copyright), but that's true whether or not your source code is registered.

    Take a look at Circular 61 from the US Copyright Office:

    It's specifically about copyrighting software, and it explains how to register software with trade secrets, which may alleviate some of your concerns.
  • Thanks for your reply.
    I was trying to understand if someone could simply make a request to the copyright office for basically a copy of my document allowing them read everything.
    Or, does the code only have limited exposure to certain individuals should a suit arise.

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