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1. Who is the owner of the
patrimonial copyrights for computer programs?
There are two hypotheses:
a) Persons free of any contract create the program
b) The program is created while performing work tasks or
following the instructions of the employer.
In the first hypotese the patrimonial copyright belong to
In the second case, the patrimonial copyrights belong to
the employer, if there isn't a contrary clause in the
Therefore, pay attention! In case in the contract there
are no clauses regarding the beneficiary of the
patrimonial copyrights over computer programs, it is
supposed that they belong to the employer. In order for
them to belong to other persons, specific clauses must be
put in the contract.
2.What exactly is protected
in case of a computer program?
According to Article 72-(1) of the Law 8/1996 the
copyright protection of computer programs "includes
any expression of a program, applications and operating
systems, expressed in any kind of language, either in
source-code or in object-code, the preparing conceiving
materials, as well as the manuals."
The law does not define any of the above mentioned
concepts. It is, therefore, up to the jurists, to the
computer scientists and to the doctrine to clarify the
concepts. Their being well-defined is very important for
the judicial practice and to the real protection of
3.What is it understood by
In computer programs trade, in most of the cases, a real
selling of that program is not achieved. What it is
offered is the right TO USE the program under certain
conditions, that is...a license. The documents that
accompany a computer program usually contain a warning
such as "THE SOFTWARE IS LICENSED NOT SOLD".
The Romanian legislation, Article 2 of the Ordinance of
the Executive, also contains a definition of the license:
"the license for the computer program - the written
consent of the titular of a computer program copyright
for the cession of some rights towards the user of the
program and which comes with the program."
The license is, therefore, a contract - agreement -
between the owner of the copyright and the user. It
accompanies the computer program and may be found in
various forms. In practice, it can be either in written
form (on paper), either in the form of a digital document
that appears when the program is installed or opened. The
usual denomination for such a document is "LICENSE
AGREEMENT". We all saw, when we installed or used a
computer program, an announcement of this kind "IMPORTANT
- READ CAREFULLY. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF
THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THIS
SOFTWARE PRODUCT". This is followed by the text of
the license and (most of the times) by the options the
user has if he agrees/does not agree with the terms of
the license. The particular features of a license may be
very different from one program to another depending on
the characteristics of that program as well as on the
licensing policy of each copyright owner.
4.What are the rights of the
author of a computer program?
According to Article 73 of the Law 8/1996, the author of
a computer program has the exclusive right to achieve and
"a) permanent or temporary reproducing of a program,
integrally or partially, through any means and in any
form, including the case in which reproduction is
determined by the incarceration, displaying, transmission
or stocking the program on computer;
b) translation, adaptation, arranging and any other
transformations brought to a computer program, as well as
the reproduction of the result of these operations,
without bringing a prejudice to the rights of the person
who transforms the computer program;
c) spreading of the original or of the copies of a
computer program under any form, including rental."
These special rights of the author of a computer program
are completed with the common rights of every creator of
an intellectual work as stipulated in the Article 10-23
of the already mentioned Law.
5. In what situations may the
authorized user of a computer program make a copy of it,
without the authorization of the author?
Without the authorization of the author, the authorized
user has the right to make " one archive or safety
copy, in the measure in which it is necessary for
ensuring the utilization of the computer".
6. May a computer program be
reproduced for personal use or for a family circle
without the consent of the author?
No, such a copy is not allowed without the consent of the
To be noted is that such a copy is forbidden by the law
only in the case of computer programs, while in the case
of other intellectual creation works it is permitted.
7.Which is the duration of
patrimonial copyrights for computer programs?
According to Article 30 of the Law 8/1996, "patrimonial
rights for computer programs last throughout the life-span
of the author and after his/her death they are
transmitted to the legal successors for a period of 50
years, as civil legislation stipulates.
8. What are the legal
obligations of the persons who produce, distribute,
commercialize or rent computer programs in Romania?
The Ordinance of the Executive 124/2000 regarding "the
completion of the juridical framework regarding
copyrights and related rights, through the adoption of
measures against audio and video pirating, as well as
computer programs pirating", institutes, for the
persons who produce, distribute, commercialize or rent
computer programs on the Romanian territory the
obligation to communicate the following to the Romanian
"a) the consent (agreement) of the titular of the
copyright or of the producer for the distribution,
commercialization or rental activities;
b) information about the way the license was given and,
from case to case, the model of license given, on the
Romanian territory, to the computer programs users."
(Article 3 (1), letters a, b)
The methodological norms regarding the managing of the
RPC (Computer Programs Register) issued by the Romanian
Copyright Office impose to the persons who produce,
distribute, commercialize or rent computer programs to
"register in the RPC in term of 30 days from the
date the Ordinance of the Executive 124/2000 came into
force or from the beginning of the activities of
production, distribution, commercializing or rental of
the computer program ."
The above-mentioned methodological norms also specify the
forms and the information that must be filed at the
Romanian Copyright Office.
9. Which are the consequences
of not complying with the obligations specified by the
Ordinance of the Executive 124/2000?
Non-compliance with the above-mentioned obligations (Article
3(1), letters a, b) is a contravention and is sanctioned
with a 20 to 40 millions Lei fine and with the seizing of
the support on which the computer programs are recorded.
Holding copies of the computer programs on any support,
with the purpose of commercializing or unauthorized
rental, is also a contravention, sanctioned with a 25 to
40 millions Lei fine and with the confiscation of the
These contraventions also hold for legal persons. In this
situation, the limits of the fines increase by 5 times.
These contraventions are certified and sanctioned by the
representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
by the Romanian Copyright Office.
The representatives of the copyright titularies will have
the right, upon their request, to accompany the above-mentioned
One more thing must be noted. These contraventions,
according to the circumstances in which they are
committed, may be considered, according to the penal law,
infractions. In this case, the sanctions are more severe.
10. What are the specific
obligations of the producers of computer programs, in
Besides the general obligations presented above, the
computer programs producers have the obligation to
communicate the following, for each computer program, to
the Romanian Copyright Office:
"a) the act that proves the copyright title over the
computer programs or a signed declaration indicating that
he/she is the author of the computer programs;
b) the license model given to the users of computer
programs on the Romanian territory;
c) a copy of the computer program in the form in which it
d) information referring to the way the license was given
and to the license model given to the users of computer
programs on the territory of other states". (Article
1, (3) of the Methodological norms regarding the
management of RPC)
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