The software can be defined as the programs that are required for the full operation of any hardware on the computer and used with information processing. Considering that electronic devices are used frequently at every moment of our lives today, the software is of great importance for the devices to work properly. Therefore, the software is one of the subjects that should be protected as an important subject of industrial property rights.
At this very point, the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works regulates the procedures and principles regarding the protection of the rights of the right holders of the intellectual and artistic works. The Industrial Property Law also regulates legal and penal sanctions for violations of rights on things such as trademarks, patents, and utility models.
Is there a direct provision regarding the software in the Industrial Property Law or the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works?
Although there is no direct provision regarding software in the Industrial Property Law, the software is considered scientific work. In addition to this, in the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works, software, computer programs expressed in all forms among scientific and literary works and in the next stage are included in the scope of their preparatory designs, provided that they result in the program.
How is the software protected?
The rights provided legally on all products created by the opinion of the person are called copyright. Copyright provides protection of the rights of the person on the software produced by the person as well as expresses the power of disposition of the person on the thing that is the subject of copyright.
How can the software produced by someone else be benefited in accordance with the law?
The software may be subject to a license agreement. With the license agreement, the licensor can ensure that the software can be used by someone else.
What is the consequence of saving software without a license agreement?
Actions such as unauthorized copying, distribution or use of the software without the consent of the rights holder are called software piracy. Software piracy can occur in ways such as copying, uploading to the computer, sharing. Unlicensed use of the software is a criminal act.
Do I have to file a complaint if the industrial property right on the software is violated?
Yes. If actions that violate the rights of industrial property rights are actions that constitute a crime, it is necessary to complain that the investigation and prosecution of these crimes depend on the complaint.
When and how can I file my complaint?
The complaint must be filed by the beneficiary within six months. This period starts with learning who the criminal act or the person who violated the right is. The complaint can be made by reporting to anyone from the public prosecutor, police, or gendarmerie. In order for the complaint to be valid, right holders must submit documents proving their rightfulness to the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor.
Can software be protected with a patent?
In the Industrial Property Law, it is stated that literary and artistic works and scientific works themselves will be excluded from patentability. For example, although the software itself cannot be patented, a camera device with face recognition, for example, can be patented. In addition, the software can also be protected by license agreements and confidentiality agreements.
Can software be registered?
Yes. According to the 7th article of the Regulation on Registration of Intellectual and Artistic Works; in computer programs, the information required for registration is given in the “text” format, consisting of “Unicode” characters. For databases, the necessary information is given in two copies in “XML” format, recorded in digital media such as DVD, CD-ROM. Since the addressee for the registration of the software is the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the registration certificate is issued by the relevant ministry.
The application for the registration of the software is made to the General Directorate of Copyrights under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
How long is a registered software protected?
According to the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works, the protection period continues throughout the life of the owner of the work. In case of death of the owner of the work, the protection period is 70 years from the date of death. In cases where the author is a legal person such as a company or an association, the protection period is 70 years from the date of publicity.
What actions are criminalized with constitute to software?
The processing, reproduction, modification of the software without the permission of the rightful persons, the transmission and publication of all kinds of signs, sound, or images to the public, and publishing are considered as a crime in the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works.
How is the authorized court determined?
The court in charge is the criminal court of intellectual and industrial rights. The competent court is the court where the crime was committed. In cases where there is no Intellectual and Industrial Rights Criminal Court in the place where the crime was committed, the criminal courts of the first instance will be in charge.
Berk Özşenoğulları, Attorney At Law