In Pakistan, computer programmes are excluded from patent protection under the patent laws. Protection under the copyright laws is the only safeguard available for the computer software industry.
Under the provisions of the Copyright Ordinance, 1962 (“the Ordinance”) copyright protection is only available for `works’ which fit within one of the categories of works or subject matters specified in the Ordinance. Section 10 of the Ordinance provides that copyright subsists, inter alia, in original, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. As regard to the computer programmes, the definition of `literary work’ is amended by the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992 (“the Amendment Act”) to include computer programmes. Section 2(p) of the Ordinance defines literary work to include work, inter alia, on complications and computer programmes, “that is to say programmes recorded on any disc, tape, perforated media or other information storage devices, which, if fed into or located in a computer or computer based equipment is capable of reproducing any information”.
Infringement of Computer Programmes
Pursuant to the restrictions imposed under Section 56 of the Ordinance, even the purchasers of computer programmes may not copy, adapt or make copies of adaption of the programmes in connection with their use by themselves or their employees. The unauthorised use of a computer programme in a computer is also infringement of the copyright. Accordingly, if a duplicate of a computer programme is acquired by someone who has no licence to use it, the copyright owner has the right to prevent him using it. Section 56 alsorestricts rental of computer programmes to un-authorised users. Intention to copy computer programmes is not an essential ingredient of infringement; nor is it essential that the copying be in the same medium. Thus, a computer programmme stored on diskettes (or any other magnetic media) can be infringed by copying the same on paper, or taking a print-out of the same.
Liability for Infringement