Ownership Issues with Commissioned Software Programs in Ireland Essay

Ownership Issues with Commissioned Software Programs in Ireland Essay

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The ownership of commissioned software can often be misleading, and without a clearly defined contract between the client and software programmer, the lines can become blurred as to who holds the copyright of said software program code. A client commissioning a software program from a developer may assume that once they purchase and take ownership of the software, they also acquire the intellectual rights and copyright to the work. Before the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 came into effect on 1st January, 2001, in Irish law a client commissioning work was entitled to the ownership of copyright once they purchased the artefact (Copyright 1963). This is no longer the case, unless there is a specific contract between the client and the contractor, the contractor is the first owner of the work and therefore owns the copyright, (Copyright Act 2000).
This paper will endeavour to highlight some salient features of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 in relation to the re-use or re-distribution of commissioned software code.

Salient Features of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000
Under the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 Section 17, Copyright provides the owner of a body of work with the rights to authorize other persons the right to use that work within the State, within the laws of the State (Irish Statute Book, 2000)
Copyright exists to ensure the owners of intellectual property secure a fair return on their work because existing contract law doesn’t offer enough protection. The legal rule of ‘privity of contract ‘ stipulates that a contract existing between two parties cannot be applied to a third party (Law Reform Commission, 2008), therefore the third party would be able to exploit the works wi...

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...8. Who owns the software…?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bllaw.co.uk/pdf/TECH_0508_Who_owns_the_software_CIS.pdf
[Accessed 04 March 2014].
Law Reform Commission, 2008. Privity of Contract and Third Party rights, Dublin: Law Reform Commision.
McIntyre, T., 2007. Copyright in Custom code: Who owns commissioned software?. [Online]
Available at: http://jiplp.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/7/473.full.pdf?keytype=ref&ijkey=PUyOS40LmBKlBXU
[Accessed 11 March 2014].
Moffat, J., 2009. A practical guide to copyright in computer software. [Online]
Available at: http://www.avidity-ip.com/assets/pdf/20100105033033_4036.pdf
[Accessed 14 March 2014].
Sametinger, J., 1997. Software Engineering with Reusable Components. s.l.:Springer .
Somerville, I., 2004. Software Reuse. In: Sommerville, ed. Software Engineering. Harlow: Pearson Educational Limited, pp. 416-418.

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