While games application or video games is trending recently, this is how the IP laws regulate protection on it. They are Law No. 28/2014 on Copy Right (CR Law), Law No. 20/2016 on Mark (Mark Law) and Law No. 13/2016 on Patent (Patent Law) which are relevant on such IP right protection on games application  or videogames. However, CR Law only stipulates “computer program” and “video games” as copyrightable works as follows:

1. Computer Program

CR Law defines “computer program” as a set of instructions being expressed in language, code, scheme or any other forms which is intended for computer to perform a certain function or to produce certain result.

It seems CR Law uses the term of “computer program” in general terms. The Law does not specifically include or use the term “Software”, ”Application” or “app” as copyrightable works.

- In daily uses the term software and computer program are used interchangeably, although technically they have different meaning. Pursuant to general knowledge software is a terminology that is used to call computer part which is not tangible, which among other includes data files, images and other intangible components. Therefore, software is actually has broader meaning than computer programs.

- An app/application, in general, refers to a computer program or group of computer programs that is designed for end-user which allows the end-user to perform specific tasks, functions or activities. Thus, all applications are computer programs, but a computer program is not necessarily an application.

Based on the above therefore, in addition to the computer program, the copyright protection given under CR Law include applications and software, if they constitute a set of instructions being expressed in language, code, scheme or any other forms which is intended for computer to perform a certain function or to produce certain result.

2. Video Games 

CR Law stipulates “video games” (or in Indonesian permainan video) as copyrightable works, but it does not define the term of video games itself. 

A video game in general is a generic term refers to an electronic game which use electronic systems to play which are known as a platform (such as personal computer/PCs and video game consoles [Atari and Nintendo]).

As all video games have artistic and literary works (picture/character, song, storyline, music, etc) and also operated by the computer programs, therefore the copyright protection of a video games may also  encompass artistic and literary works as well as its computer programs.

3. Games Application

Games applications are massively produced by games developers and easily found in mobile devices by download.  As mentioned above, the CR Law has listed “video games” (or in Indonesian permainan video) as copyrightable works.

Previously video games were being played using the platform of PCs, Atari or Nintendo. Now, after the coming of internet and mobile devices, video games can be played by mobile devices platform such as smart phone and tablet computers. Therefore games application played in mobile devices is basically the same as video games which is protected by CR Law. 

In addition to the copyright protection, the name and logo of the Video Game/Game Application may qualify to constitute a mark, thus they can also be protected under mark registration pursuant to the Mark Law. And if a computer program in the games application or video games has problem solving instruction program/coding, then pursuant to Patent Law, such computer program which qualifies as invention, can also be registered to obtain patent protection.


Disclaimer: This article is intended as general information only and it does not constitute a legal advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss that may arise from reliance on this information. Please contact us if you need full legal advice.