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Reference to “Work or Software" in the EUPL

Article from Krzysztof Żok, Faculty of Law - University of Poznań

Published on: 15/10/2021

Krzysztof Żok, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland), publishes in the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology (volume 15, winter 2021) a well-documented article on the EUPL and in particular on the reference to “a work or software” as the factor determining the scope of the licence.

Here are the summary notes that the author provides in conclusion:

“The EUPL is an interesting legal solution aimed at creating a European non- -proprietary licence. For this purpose, the licence is governed by the law of one of the Member States. As a result, the harmonized legal framework of Software Directive applies to the EUPL. Moreover, the licence is available in all the official languages of the European Union. The article analyses the reference to ‘a work or software’ which defines the scope of the licence. The expression may seem puzzling since a computer program is a type of work. However, a closer examination shows that a reference only to the software would be unsatisfactory. The parties would then suffer the consequences of an incorrect assessment of what constitutes software. This could easily raise practical concerns due to the complex structure of computer programs. The reference to the broader concept of work reduces these doubts by including under the EUPL the components which are not protected as software. It also provides greater flexibility, much needed in the rapidly changing area of IT law. Besides, the generality of the EUPL facilitates seamless integration with the compatible licences. The article also indicates that some of the compatible licences offer a more precise definition of software. The parties could probably benefit from the adoption of a similar solution in the EUPL. Nevertheless, the article shows that such definitions are not necessary for the proper functioning of the licence in question.”

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