Tuesday, 5 May 2009

EU: Directive on protection of computer programs

Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the legal protection of computer programs (Codified version) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union 5.5.2009 L 111/16.

As a harmonisation (approximation) measure in the internal market, this Directive has EEA relevance, and it replaces the amended Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs. The codified Directive 2009/24/EC enters into force on 6 May 2009.

How are computer programs protected?

Article 1 of Directive 2009/24/EC equals the legal protection of computer programs with copyright protection:

Article 1
Object of protection

1. In accordance with the provisions of this Directive, Member States shall protect computer programs, by copyright, as literary works within the meaning of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. For the purposes of this Directive, the term ‘computer programs’ shall include their preparatory design material.

2. Protection in accordance with this Directive shall apply to the expression in any form of a computer program. Ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this Directive.

3. A computer program shall be protected if it is original in the sense that it is the author's own intellectual creation. No other criteria shall be applied to determine its eligibility for protection.

4. The provisions of this Directive shall apply also to programs created before 1 January 1993, without prejudice to any acts concluded and rights acquired before that date.

Ralf Grahn