Chemin de navigation

Left navigation

Additional tools

Autres langues disponibles: FR DE

   In  1989  -  latest available figures - piracy of  computer  programs  in
   7 countries of the Community alone cost some 4.5 billion dollars.
   In  order to stem this enormous illicit trade in computer  programs,  the
   Twelve have just unanimously adopted a Directive proposed by the European
   Commission  on the initiative of Vice-President Martin  Bangemann,  which
   will soon put in place a legal protection system for European software.
   This  is a real European 'first' for copyright law, the  first  copyright
   measure  to  be adopted following the publication of the White  Paper  on
   completing the Single Market by 1992.
   As  soon  as  possible, computer programs will  be  protected  everywhere
   within  the Community in exactly the same way by copyright law  as  other
   literary, musical or artistic works and will also benefit from additional
   protection  at  international  level,  particularly  through  the   Berne
   Convention.  This means, in short, that the main trading partners of  the
   Community will give the same level of protection to European programs.
   The European Commission will make every effort to help the twelve  Member
   States' administrations in transposing the Directive into national law.
   The preparatory stages leading to the adoption of the Directive were  the
   subject  of  much discussion and comment. The final text adopted  by  the
   Twelve  therefore  representing a delicate balance of all  the  interests
   involved: producers of programs, their competitors on the market and  the
   The  legal regime which it provides is in general more 'liberal'  towards
   competitors  and  users than was the case previously  in  the  protection
   systems  of some countries in the Community.  In fact, now  the  European
   Directive  allows  the  making of a copy (a  "back-up"  in  the  industry
   jargon)  and  the  correction of errors in programs and  it  alllows  the
   reverse  engineering  of  programs but only to the  extent  necessary  to
   ensure the interoperability of independently created programs.
                                     - 2 -
   Up  to  now, only five Member States had  specific  copyright  protection
   systems  for  computer programs : the United  Kingdom,  France,  Germany,
   Spain  and Denmark.  In other countries, draft bills were being  prepared
   (Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal). To avoid a mosaic of
   quite  divergent  national  legislation from  developing  the  Commission
   proposed one coherent European legislation on the subject.
   In  spite of the complexity and the newness of the subject matter of  the
   proposed legislation, the text was approved unanimously by the Twelve and
   the  European Parliament proposed no amendments on second  reading:  this
   more  than proves the awareness of the political decision-makers  of  the
   vital role which the computer industry plays in our economic development,
   an industry where European companies play a leading role.
* * *

Side Bar