New decision of the European Court of Justice on computer programs

The European Court of Justice ruled on copyright on computer programs (Case Bezpecnostní Softwarove Asociace - Svaz Softwarove ochrany see Ministerstvo Kultury, 22 December 2010, C- 393/09), holding that also the user's graphical interface of a program, when original, can be protected by copyright. In particular, the Court defined the user's graphical interface as the interacting interface that allows the communication between the computer program and the user, and ruled that such interface can be protected by copyright if it is the result of intellectual creation. It this case, according to the Court, the user's graphical interface is entitled to be protected by copyright in accordance with Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. The user's graphical interface, on the contrary, cannot be protected by copyright in accordance with Art. 1 No 2 of Directive 91/250/EEC (on the legal protection of computer programs), as the subject of such protection is the computer program in all its forms of expression, such as the source code and the object code. According to the Court, the user's graphical interface does not allow reproducing a computer program but it only constitutes an element of such program through which the users exploit its functionality. The European Court of Justice finally stated that television broadcasting of a graphical user interface cannot be considered a public disclosure of a work protected by copyright pursuant to art. 3, No. 1, Directive 2001/29, as the interface is made available to the public only in a passive way, without the possibility of interaction.

01/31/2011 | Copyright