The advance of technology has led to the formulation of new legal concepts and the expansion of traditional legal concepts, such as copyright, patent, and trademark law.
Copyright law is one of the principal means of protecting computer software. Copyright law protects original literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works. Computer software is protected as a literary work. One of the significant rights granted to the owner of copyright in a work is the exclusive right to reproduce the work, or any substantial part of the work, in any material form whatever. For example, the owner of copyright in a piece of computer software has the right to stop others from making copies of the software, or any substantial part of the software, whether the infringer makes the infringing copy by copying the software on to a floppy disk, hard disk, CD ROM, or by printing out a hard copy of the software.
Contracts may also be used to protect computer software. For example, the owner of copyright in a piece of software may enter into a contract with an end-user, restricting the manner in which the software may be used.
A trademark is typically one or more words, or numbers, or a design, (or any combination of these) used by a business to distinguish its goods or services from the goods or services of another business. For example, the Microsoft Corporation uses the MICROSOFT® trade-mark to distinguish its software from SYMANTEC® software, and other software in the marketplace. The owner of a trade-mark registration may institute "infringement" proceedings in court to stop others from using that mark, or another mark confusingly similar to it.