Copyright Protection of Graphical User Interfaces in Europe (C-393/09)

Even though up to now this blog predominantly reported on patent issues and IP politics, it is nevertheless intended to cover other types of software-related intellectual property as well. I thus feel that I have to mention at least briefly the recent decision of the European Court of Justice in case C-393/09 (BSA vs. Ministry of Culture of the CR), which is dealing with copyright protection of graphical user interfaces (GUI). The headnote of the Court's judgement reads:
1. A graphic user interface is not a form of expression of a computer program within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs [the so called Software Directive, now replaced by Directive 2009/24/EC] and cannot be protected by copyright as a computer program under that directive. Nevertheless, such an interface can be protected by copyright as a work by Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society [the so called Copyright Directive] if that interface is its author’s own intellectual creation. 2. Television broadcasting of a graphic user interface does not constitute communication to the public of a work protected by copyright within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29.
As elaborately explained on the Bright Spark blog, the ECJ was exclusively discussing a GUI as an interface, i.e. as a means by which the user can interact with his computer ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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