Thursday 17 December 2009

GUIs go to Luxembourg

The Curia website this morning boasts news of yet another copyright-related reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union, this time from the Nejvyšší správní soud (the Czech Supreme Administrative Court). Lodged on 5 October 2009, this is Case C-393/09 Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace (Security software association) v Ministerstvo kultury ČR (Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic). The question asked is one that relates to GUIs (graphic user interfaces -- the things that turn one's daily activities on the computer from pain to pleasure) -- and the legal context relates to that slumbering and best-forgotten piece of obsolete legislation, the Software Directive:
"Should Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs be interpreted as meaning that, for the purposes of the copyright protection of a computer program as a work under that directive, the phrase 'the expression in any form of a computer program' also includes the graphic user interface of the computer program or part thereof?
If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, does television broadcasting, whereby the public is enabled to have sensory perception of the graphic user interface of a computer program or part thereof, albeit without the possibility of actively exercising control over that program, constitute making a work or part thereof available to the public within the meaning of Article 3(1) of European Parliament and Council Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society?"
If any reader has background information about the dispute leading to this reference, the 1709 Blog would love to know about it.

1 comment:

Huťko said...

Well, i don´t know the background information, but maybe i got the idea behind the questions.

The question is whether the GUI is protected as the computer programe or the art work. If latter "press and tv licence" does apply to making available to public (= no consent necessary), if the former it does not. This is the first thing that came up to my mind.