Sunday, January 09, 2011

EU Court of Justice Rules that a GUI Can Be Protected in Europe Under the Information Society Directive Even if Not Protected by the Software Directive

OUT-LAW News from out-law.com and Pinsent Masons LLP refers to a recent December 22, 2010 decision issued by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in which the ECJ ruled that GUIs can be protected by copyright under the European Union Information Society Directive, even if they can not be protected under the EU Software Directive.

The ruling of the Court (Third Chamber) was, specifically (bold text is from the original):
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 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 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.

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