Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software. It is such a profitable “business” that it has caught the attention of organized crime groups in a number of countries. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), about 36% of all software in current use is stolen. Software piracy causes significant lost revenue for publishers, which in turn results in higher prices for the consumer.
Discussing legal issues raised by software development is much less common but legal issues for software developers can be quite complex—and often must be addressed during each stage of the software development as well as maintenance process.
If you or your company develop software, it’s important to understand the legal issues you may face and work with a trusted lawyer to address them before they become an issue. Our technology lawyers have substantial experience advising technology companies and can provide advice at each stage of your software company’s development.
A software house must have to comply with the following works; Incorporation of the Company, Registration of the company with other government departments, Owning Intellectual Property rights, Submission of Tax etc. We have analyzed the business structure of the software and app development companies working in Pakistan and then framed the entire business structure into the different sectors mentioned below.
This is a pillar department of a software house which develops
software and applications for their clients but the work should be done in
accordance with the laws of the state and bylaws of the company as well.
The Software or app development company have to comply with the
following legal aspects
The developer’s agreement stated above is a public document so in order to
protect confidential information of your client you may have to sign another
Following are the key terms:
Administration department of the software / app development
company is responsible to manage all administrative tasks which include
The Human Resource sector of the company is liable to perform the
duties related with the employment and interaction with the clients as
human resources compliance are so important.
There are several legal issues in Human Resources but some of common
issues which may arise are;
Accounts department of your company deals with the financial
resources and transactions. There are certain legal issues which may arise
instituting criminal as well as civil liabilities including tax matters
A computer program is primarily protected as a copyright work. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) provides that copyright subsists in an original literary work, which is defined as including a “computer program” and the “preparatory design material for a computer program”, although the CDPA does not define what constitutes a computer program. The CDPA is, in this regard, implementing the EU’s Software Directive which provides that a “computer program”, including for this purpose, their preparatory design material, is protected by copyright as a literary work.
However, software is quite unlike the more traditional forms of copyright work – such as books, paintings or letters – for which copyright evolved. Accordingly, the application of copyright to software is not entirely straightforward. In particular, software has a life beyond the black letter of its text in a way that books or paintings do not. It is both a copyright work – in the sense of being a record of information – and a functioning work, which creates effects – such as screen displays or sounds and which may include errors and need to be supported or maintained. This can lead to complications in terms of the legal protection of software by copyright because it is axiomatic that copyright protects the expression of ideas, but not ideas or schemes per se.
2. Confidentiality Laws
While copyright is the main form of legal protection of software, most proprietary software companies also ensure that the source code of the software is kept as a trade secret, and only disclosed under a secrecy agreement where disclosure is necessary, such as to producers of related software. This is because, as discussed above, the source code is the key to understanding how the software functions and is essential for the maintenance of the software, since it will need to be examined to develop the software or correct errors or defects in it.
There are two basic requirements for information to be treated as confidential according to UK law:
3. Database right
The EU Database Directive (96/9/EC) sought to harmonise the legal protection of databases. A database is a collection of independent works, data or other materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and individually accessible by electronic or other means.
The Directive standardised the “originality” threshold for copyright protection of databases, limiting such protection to databases which “by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author’s own intellectual creation” (Article 3, EU Database Directive). This requirement is reflected in section 3A(1)of the CDPA and hence also applies to software.
In the UK, a patent may be obtained in respect of an invention which is new, involves an inventive step, is capable of industrial or technical application and does not fall within any of the exclusions (Patents Act 1977). The owner of a patent can prevent any third parties from selling the product or process which is the subject of the invention. However, section 1(2) of the Patents Act provides that a patent will not be granted for “a program for a computer” to the extent that the patent relates to the program “as such”. This is derived from a similar provision in Article 52 of the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The Case Lawyer law firm attains expertise in the era of information
technology law. We are well familiar with the State laws relating to the I.T
industry and telecommunication.