/ Software Copyright Infringement – A Real-Life Example

Software Copyright Infringement – A Real-Life Example

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Manish Jindal

January 19, 2024


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Software Copyright Infringement – A Real-Life Example

Do you want to the nuances of software copyright infringement?

As these technologies continue to flourish, so does the need for robust legal frameworks to protect intellectual property rights.

One such area of concern is software copyright infringement, a complex and often misunderstood facet of intellectual property law.

In this blog, we aim to provide a comprehensive introduction to software copyright infringement, shedding light on its significance, various forms, and potential consequences.

Furthermore, we will explore the legal implications of such infringements, and discuss the measures that developers, businesses, and individuals can take to safeguard their creations while respecting the rights of others in the industry.

Join us on this journey, as we navigate the murky waters of operating system copyright infringement and strive towards fostering a more respectful and compliant digital ecosystem.

what is Software Copyright Infringement?

Software copyright infringement, also known as operating system piracy, is the unauthorized use, distribution, copying, or modification of copyrighted software.

This occurs when someone violates the exclusive rights granted to the operating system’s copyright holder under copyright law. Examples of software copyright infringement include:

  1. Making unauthorized copies of the operating system for personal or commercial use.
  2. Distributing or sharing copyrighted operating system without permission from the copyright holder.
  3. Creating derivative works based on the copyrighted operating system without proper authorization.
  4. Using a cracked or modified version of the operating system to bypass licensing restrictions.
  5. Downloading or installing pirated operating system from unlicensed sources.

Software copyright infringement can lead to legal consequences for individuals and organizations involved, including fines, penalties, or even imprisonment.

It can also harm operating system developers by reducing their revenue, hindering their ability to provide support and updates, and undermining their intellectual property rights.

Example of Infringement of Software Copyright

An example of infringement of operating system copyright involves the unauthorized copying and distribution of a popular video editing software:

Imagine a company called VideoMaster has developed a high-quality video editing operating system  called EditPro, which they sell with a single-user license.

They hold the copyright to this software, granting them exclusive rights over its use, distribution, and modification.

John, a user who has legally purchased a single-user license for EditPro, decides to make multiple copies of the operating system and share it with his friends and colleagues.

He uploads it to a file-sharing website, making it freely available to anyone who wants to download it.

In this scenario, John has infringed upon VideoMaster’s operating system copyright in the following ways:

  1. Unauthorized copying: By making multiple copies of EditPro without permission from VideoMaster, John has violated their exclusive right to reproduce the operating system.
  2. Unauthorized distribution: By sharing EditPro with his friends and uploading it to a file-sharing website, John has infringed upon VideoMaster’s exclusive right to distribute their operating system.

This copyright infringement can lead to legal consequences for John, including fines and penalties.

Additionally, it harms VideoMaster by reducing their potential revenue from legitimate software sales, which can negatively impact their ability to maintain, update, and develop new operating system products.

Further Reading: Search Engine Copyright Infringement

Legal Actions for the Software Copyright Infringement

When operating system copyright infringement occurs, the copyright holder can take various legal actions to protect their intellectual property and seek compensation for damages.

Some of these legal actions include:

Cease and Desist notice

The copyright holder can send a cease and desist notice to the infringing party, demanding them to stop the unauthorized use, distribution, or copying of the operating system.

This notice may be enough to resolve the issue without proceeding to litigation.


The copyright holder can seek an injunction from the court, which is a legal order compelling the infringing party to stop their infringing activities.

This may include halting the distribution of unauthorized copies or disabling access to the pirated operating system.

Monetary Damages

The copyright holder can sue the infringing party for monetary damages, which may include actual damages (e.g., lost profits due to the infringement) and statutory damages (a predetermined amount per infringing copy).

Criminal Charges

In some cases, particularly when the infringement is willful and for commercial gain, the infringing party may face criminal charges.

Penalties for criminal copyright infringement can include fines, imprisonment, or both.

Seizure and Destruction of Infringing Materials

The court may order the seizure and destruction of unauthorized copies of the operating system, as well as any equipment or materials used in the production of those copies.


In some instances, the copyright holder and the infringing party may reach a settlement outside of court.

This can include financial compensation, as well as an agreement by the infringing party to cease any further infringement activities.

Temporary Injunctions for Operating System Copyright Infringement 

A temporary injunction, also known as a preliminary injunction, is a court order that requires a party to temporarily cease certain activities until a final decision is made in a lawsuit.

In the context of operating system, copyright infringement, a temporary injunction can be granted to prevent further infringement while the legal case is ongoing.

The purpose of a temporary injunction is to preserve the status quo and protect the rights of the copyright holder during the litigation process.

It can help prevent further damage or loss of revenue due to ongoing infringement.

To obtain a temporary injunction for operating system copyright infringement, the copyright holder (plaintiff) must typically demonstrate the following to the court:

Likelihood of success on the merits

The plaintiff must show that they have a strong case and are likely to win the lawsuit based on the evidence and the applicable law.

Irreparable harm

The plaintiff must establish that they will suffer irreparable harm if the temporary injunction is not granted.

This harm may include lost sales, damage to their reputation, or other negative consequences that cannot be easily compensated by monetary damages.

Balance of hardships

The court must consider the potential harm to both parties if the injunction is granted or denied.

The plaintiff must demonstrate that the harm they would suffer without the injunction outweighs the harm the defendant would experience if the injunction is granted.

Public interest

The plaintiff may need to show that granting the temporary injunction serves the public interest, such as preventing widespread distribution of pirated operating system or protecting the integrity of copyright laws.

If the court grants a temporary injunction, the infringing party must cease the specified activities related to the operating system copyright infringement, such as distributing or selling unauthorized copies of the software.

The injunction remains in effect until the court reaches a final decision in the case or until the court modifies or dissolves the injunction.

Technological Measures to Avoid Software Copyright Infringement

To avoid software copyright infringement and protect their intellectual property, software developers can implement various technological measures.

These measures can help deter unauthorised copying, distribution, and use of the software. Some common technological measures include:

Licensing Systems

Developers can use licensing systems that require users to input a unique activation key or serial number to install or use the operating system.

These systems help ensure that only legitimate, authorized users can access the software.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

DRM technologies control how the software can be used, copied, and distributed.

They may include encryption, access controls, or other mechanisms to limit unauthorized use or sharing of the operating system.

Online Activation

Requiring online activation of the operating system can help ensure that each copy is authorized and registered with the developer.

This can make it more difficult for unauthorized copies to be installed and used.

Automatic Updates

Developers can implement automatic updates that require a valid license to access new features or security patches.

This encourages users to purchase legitimate copies of the system to receive ongoing support and updates.


Watermarking embeds unique identifiers within the software, making it possible to trace unauthorized copies back to their source.

This can help deter piracy by increasing the risk of being caught and held accountable for copyright infringement.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

By offering software through a cloud-based subscription model, developers can maintain greater control over access and usage.

Users access the software online and need to maintain an active subscription to continue using it, which reduces the incentive to create or distribute unauthorized copies.

Code Obfuscation

Obfuscating the software’s source code makes it more difficult for would-be infringers to reverse-engineer the software modify it, or create unauthorized derivatives.

Tamper-resistant technologies

Implementing technologies that prevent or detect attempts to tamper with the software, such as bypassing licensing restrictions, can help protect against copyright infringement.

While no technological measure is foolproof, using a combination of these methods can make it more challenging for unauthorized users to infringe upon operating system copyrights.

Developers should also educate their customers about the legal and ethical implications of software piracy and encourage them to report any instances of infringement they encounter.

Further Reading: What is Copyright Piracy

Legal Principles to Protect the Copyrighted Software Content

There are several legal principles and provisions in place to protect copyrighted operating system content.

These principles are enshrined in various national and international laws, treaties, and agreements that govern intellectual property rights, particularly copyright law.

Some key legal principles include:

Copyright protection

Under copyright law, operating system is considered a creative work, and its source code and object code are protected as literary works.

Copyright protection grants the software creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, publicly display, perform, and create derivative works based on the operating system.


Although copyright protection is automatically granted upon the creation of the operating system., registering the copyright with the relevant national copyright office can provide additional benefits.

Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim and is often required before initiating an infringement lawsuit.

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Fair use and exceptions

Copyright law allows for certain exceptions, such as fair use, which permits limited use of copyrighted material without the copyright holder’s permission.

However, these exceptions are typically narrow and do not cover unauthorized copying, distribution, or modification of operating system.

Licensing agreements

Software developers can use licensing agreements to define the terms and conditions under which their operating system can be used, distributed, or modified.

Licensing agreements can help protect the software’s copyrighted content by specifying the rights granted to users and the limitations on those rights.

International treaties and agreements

International treaties, such as the Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), provide a framework for copyright protection across national borders.

These treaties require signatory countries to adhere to minimum standards of copyright protection and enforcement, including protection for operating system.

Anti-circumvention laws

Some jurisdictions have enacted laws to protect against the circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems.

For example, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States prohibits the circumvention of such measures and the distribution of tools or services designed for circumvention.

Enforcement and remedies

Copyright holders can take legal action against infringers to enforce their rights and seek remedies, such as injunctions, monetary damages, and the seizure and destruction of infringing materials.

In some cases, copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

These legal principles help protect copyrighted software content and provide a framework for developers to assert their intellectual property rights, seek compensation for damages, and deter unauthorized use, distribution, and modification of their operating system.

Remedies to Copyright Infringement Software

When software copyright infringement occurs, copyright holders can seek various remedies under the law to protect their intellectual property and compensate for damages caused by the infringement. Some of the remedies available include:


An injunction is a court order that requires the infringing party to cease their infringing activities, such as distributing or using unauthorized copies of the operating system.

Injunctions can be preliminary (temporary) or permanent, depending on the stage of the legal proceedings and the outcome of the case.

Monetary Damages

Copyright holders can seek monetary compensation for the harm caused by the infringement.

This may include actual damages, which represent the loss of revenue due to the infringement.

Additional profits that the infringer may have earned from the unauthorized use of the copyrighted software.

In some jurisdictions, copyright holders can also seek statutory damages, which are predetermined amounts set by law for each instance of infringement.

Seizure and Destruction of Infringing Materials

Courts may order the seizure and destruction of unauthorized copies of the operating system and any equipment or materials used to create, distribute, or store those copies.

This helps to prevent further infringement and sends a strong message to potential infringers.

Attorneys’ Fees and Costs

In some cases, the court may award the prevailing party their attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the litigation.

This can help offset the financial burden of pursuing legal action against infringers.

Criminal Penalties

In certain circumstances, such as when the infringement is willful and for commercial gain, the infringing party may face criminal charges.

Penalties for criminal copyright infringement can include fines, imprisonment, or both.


In some instances, the copyright holder and the infringing party may reach a settlement outside of court.

This can include financial compensation, as well as an agreement by the infringing party to cease any further infringement activities.

To pursue these remedies, it is crucial for copyright holders to consult with an attorney experienced in intellectual property law.

They can help navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and determine the most appropriate course of action to protect the copyright holder’s rights and interests effectively.

Acceptable Usage of Software Copyright Infringement

It is important to note that operating system. copyright infringement is generally considered unacceptable and illegal.

However, there are certain exceptions and circumstances under which the use of copyrighted software may be considered acceptable without obtaining explicit permission from the copyright holder. Some of these exceptions include:

Fair Use

In some jurisdictions, the concept of “fair use” allows for limited use of copyrighted material without the copyright holder’s permission.

This is typically for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Fair use is assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the effect on the market for the copyrighted work.

However, fair use typically does not cover the unauthorized copying, distribution, or modification of software.

Educational use

In some cases, educational institutions may be allowed to use copyrighted software for teaching or research purposes under specific exemptions or licensing arrangements.

This often requires adherence to strict guidelines and limitations.

Backup copies

In certain jurisdictions, creating a single backup copy of legally purchased software for personal use is permitted.

This backup copy is meant to be used only if the original copy is lost, damaged, or destroyed, and should not be shared or distributed to others.

Public domain

If the copyright protection for the software has expired, or if the copyright holder has explicitly released the operating system Into the public domain, anyone is free to use, copy, distribute, or modify the software without restrictions.

Open-source software

Some software is released under open-source licenses, which grant users the right to use, copy, distribute, and modify the operating system.

Under specific terms and conditions. It is important to understand and adhere to the specific requirements of the open-source license.

It is always essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of any software license or agreement to ensure that your use of the copyrighted software complies with the law and the rights granted by the copyright holder.

When in doubt, consult an attorney or seek permission from the copyright holder before using, copying, or distributing copyrighted operating system.


In conclusion, software copyright infringement is a significant issue that has far-reaching consequences for software developers, users, and the broader economy.

Infringement undermines the rights of copyright holders, reduces their revenue, and can hinder innovation and the development of new software products.

To combat this problem, it is essential for copyright holders to take proactive steps to protect their intellectual property through technological measures.

Such licensing agreements, and by educating users about the legal and ethical implications of operating system piracy.

Moreover, individuals and organizations must be aware of the legal principles and provisions governing software copyrights, as well as the exceptions and acceptable usage scenarios.

In cases of infringement, copyright holders have various legal remedies available, including injunctions, monetary damages, and criminal penalties.

Ultimately, fostering a culture of respect for intellectual property rights, combined with effective enforcement, can help promote a fair and thriving operating system industry that benefits developers and users alike.

Bytescare provides effective solutions for copyright infringement. Book a Demo with us to discuss with the experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is software copyright infringement?

Software copyright infringement occurs when someone uses, copies, distributes, or modifies copyrighted software without the permission of the copyright holder, violating the exclusive rights granted to the software’s creator under copyright law.

 How can software developers protect their copyrighted works?

Developers can protect their copyrighted operating system by implementing technological measures, such as licensing systems, Digital Rights Management (DRM), code obfuscation, and watermarking.

Additionally, they can use licensing agreements to define the terms of use, distribution, and modification of their software.

What legal actions can be taken against software copyright infringers?

Legal actions against infringers may include sending a cease and desist notice, seeking an injunction, suing for monetary damages, and, in some cases, pursuing criminal charges.

Copyright holders may also seek the seizure and destruction of infringing materials.

What is the difference between a operating system license and a copyright?

A copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that grants the creator of a software exclusive rights to its use, distribution, and modification.

A software license is an agreement between the copyright holder and a user, which outlines the terms and conditions under which the software can be used.

Are there any exceptions to software copyright infringement?

Exceptions to infringement include fair use, educational use, creating a backup copy for personal use, using public domain software, and using open-source operating system under the terms of its specific license.

 What is the difference between open-source software and proprietary software in terms of copyright?

Open-source software is released under a license that allows users to access, use, modify, and distribute the software under specific terms and conditions.

Proprietary software, on the other hand, is protected by copyright and typically has more restrictive licensing terms, limiting the ways in which users can interact with the software.

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