Copyright on software gives the holders the right to control the use of the software (property rights).

It also gives them rights that protect the name and reputation of the author (moral rights).

Property rights

The aim of property rights is to put the holder of the rights to a piece of software in charge of its use. They allow him to decide whether or not to market the software and its modalities.

The reproduction, translation and adaptation of the software

The express authorisation of the person who holds the rights to the software is required in order to make any reproduction or copy of the sofware.

This involves even partial reproductions of the code, structure or interfaces of the software. The modification of some non-essential elements of the code or program's architecture is not enough to avoid counterfeiting.

The translations and adaptations of the program are also aimed at, such as

  • conversion to another language,
  • converting object code to source code, or
  • transforming design material into source code.

The distribution, rental and lending of software

Only the person who holds the rights to the software may distribute, rent or lend copies, whether these are physical copies or the downloading of the software on the Internet.

Moral rights

In addition to purely property-related aspects, the law also gives moral rights to the authors of software; these rights are more closely related to the author in person.

Authors have the right to demand that their name be attached to the software (paternity right) or, on the other hand, that the software be distributed anonymously or under a pseudonym.

Authors can also oppose any modification of the software that would harm their reputation (right to integrity).

The transfer of rights

These rights, which are held by the authors of software, can, however, be transferred to other people, such as professionals who will, then, take responsibility for the marketing of the software (editor, distributors, etc.).

Last update
23 March 2022