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11. What is, in fact, a computer program?
Although there is no unanimously accepted definition,
most of the definitions included in various documents or
various law systems essentially express the same thing.
- According to the standard Law from 1978 issued by the
International Organization for Intellectual Property,
computer programs are " an ensemble of instructions
that are able - from the moment they are transferred in a
format readable by a machine which can process
information - to indicate, execute or allow the obtaining
of a function, task or result."
- According to the Law on Copyright from 1976,
subsequently modified, in the USA the computer program is
"an ensemble of commands or instructions that are
directly or indirectly used in a computer in order to
produce certain results".
- According to the Council of the European Community,
direction 91/ 250/ CEE from 1991, the computer program is
"an ensemble of instructions with the purpose of
allowing the execution of functions by an information
processing system named computer".
- In Romania, Law 8/1996 on Copyright and Connected
Rights does not contain a definition of the computer
program, but it specifies, however, which is the object
of legal protection.
12. What is to be understood by "any expression
of a program"?
The understanding of the expression used by the Romanian
law in order to define the object of legal protection of
computer programs, by means of copyright, presupposes the
understanding of what a computer program really is, as
well as of what its various expressions are. The main
expressions of a computer program are: operating system,
application program, preliminary conception material,
source code, object code, mnemonics, microcode, manuals,
"look and feel", visual displays, entry formats.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut
13. What does "operating system" mean?
The operating system is a program or collection of
programs that ensures the basic functioning of the
computer as well as an intermediary between the user and
the computer. The computer cannot function without an
operating system. It is the one that initiates and
develops the logical connections between the hardware and
the software of what, in everyday language, the users
call "computer". Examples of operating systems
: Microsoft Windows 2000, UNIX, Linux,
14. What does "application program" mean?
Application programs are those programs that turn the
computer into a tool that performs certain tasks and/or
solves certain specific problems, such as: text
processing, text editing, accounting, financial analysis,
legal programs, planning, setting up data bases, message
management, designing (architecture, engineering), survey
and control of industrial processes, Internet "navigation",
etc. Examples of application programs: Microsoft Word,
Corel Word Perfect, Sun StarWriter, Lotus WordPro, Aldus
Page Maker, Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, Sun StarCalc,
Adobe, Macromedia, Legis, The Legal Library, Lege4,
Agenda Legislativa, Inventar Legislativ, Microsoft
Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, etc.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut
15. What does preliminary conception material mean ?
Preliminary conception material represents the
materialization, in natural language, of the idea and of
the activity of analysis. This materialization may
-the list of specifications and requirements that must be
performed / ensured by the program conceived.
-a description of the ways of functioning and of solving
the requirements of the program
-overall logical patterns ( in graphical, textual,
symbolic or mixed form)
-particular logical patterns
-any technical notes (information regarding the
conception/programming) with the role of preparing/controlling/running
the activity of conceiving the program.
Any computer program is based on a preliminary conception
material. It is the first step in conceiving the program.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut
16. What does "manuals" mean?
Manuals are essentially documents, printed or in digital
form(files of the program, Internet sites, etc.) which
contain information and instructions about the program
they are attached to. The information in the manuals may
have as object: the presentation of the program (destination,
functions); the guidelines (a complete description of the
utilization/exploitation ways), the assistance during the
utilization of the program ("help"), other
pieces of information about the program.
17. What does "source code" mean?
Source code is a fundamental intermediary expression in
conceiving the program and it represents the translation
of some parts of the preliminary conception material into
a programming language, using the grammar rules of that
language. It is not expressed in a natural language and
it remains obscured for someone who is not familiar with
Informatics, but it is coherent for specialists.
The source code is one of the most important expressions
of a computer program, because it contains the details
about the conception of the program and it is used by the
programmer in order to subsequently modify or develop the
program. It is a very well guarded secret by most of the
companies which produce computer programs. The source
code is undeniably protected by copyright and it is
internationally used as evidence in order to prove a
computer program genuine.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut << BACK NEXT >>