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Directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (1991)

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Citation Edit

European Union, Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs, OJ L 122, (May 17, 1991) (full-text).

Overview Edit

Following its "Green Paper on Copyright and the Challenge of Technology: Copyright Issues Requiring Immediate Action," and after extensive and heated debate, the EC released its "Directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs" in 1991. In the prologue, the directive asserts the variety and scope of protection given computer software among member states and noted the problems they present to the European common market.

The articles of the directive provide for protection of computer programs as literary works within the meaning of the Berne Convention and establish criteria for authorship and beneficiaries of protection. The directive sets forth specific restricted acts, providing that the author has the exclusive right to reproduce or authorize reproduction of a computer program, to alter, translate or adapt the program, and to distribute the program to the public. The directive provides exceptions to these restrictions, including copying needed to use the program according to its intended use.

The directive addresses the issue of recompilation, by allowing reproduction and translation of the code without authorization of the owner under certain conditions and when the information garnered from recompilation is to be used to achieve interoperability.

The directive provides a term of protection of life of the author plus 50 years after death.

This directive was formally replaced by the EU, Directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (2009)[1] on May 25, 2009,[2] which consolidates the various minor amendments the original directive has received over the years."[3]

References Edit

  1. Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs.
  2. Articles 10 and 11 of the Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs, L 111/16 EN, Off. J. European Union (May 5, 2009).
  3. Jeremy Phillips, Tuesday tiddleywinks, IPKat (May 5, 2009).

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