Has my software been copied? – the legal test

There is an urban myth that something can be copied and changed by 20% or so and then there is no copyright infringement.  Rightly or wrongly this is simply untrue.  In the case of IPC Global Pty Ltd v Pavetest Pty Ltd (No 3) [2017] FCA 82 (IPC Global), a former employee of the applicant copied source code and passed it to a developer.  It was subsequently alleged that in doing so, the respondent had breached a contractual obligation of confidence and had also breached the applicant’s copyright. [Read more…]

Legal issues in software support agreements

Software developers (Developers) need to ensure that they consider how they provide support (both technical and product support) when taking their application (Software) to market.  This applies regardless of the system architecture, however it is usually more important in the case of mission critical systems and those used for businesses.  In the world of software as a service and robust mature systems how support is to be provided can often be overlooked until an important customer asks to review the terms of service, the SLA or the support contract (Support Agreement) with an eye to negotiating the levels of service they can expect. [Read more…]

Infringement of copyright in computer code

Computer code, like other literary works are automatically protected by copyright.  Subject to exceptions, only the copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce a literary work in which copyright subsists, pursuant to section 31 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act).   Generally the reproduction of another programmer’s code without their consent amounts to an infringement of copyright – section 36 of the Act.
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Who owns the code?

Who owns the computer code is an important issue not just for employers but also IT contractors, who may utilise their own code libraries, and business associates embarking on joint software development projects.  This question can be critical when attempting to commercialise intellectual property, raise capital or applying for a government grant.

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Software licences held to be “goods” under ACL

Software licences have been held to be “goods” under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by the Federal Court of Australia in Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Valve Corporation (No 3) [2016] FCA 196.  The case also clarified the position of “choice of law” clauses and highlighted the difficulties of contracting out of ACL consumer guarantees. [Read more…]

Are software developers liable for defects in their software?

The question of whether software developers are (or ought to be) legally liable for bugs, errors, security vulnerabilities, or other defects in the software which they develop, and the extent to which they are (or ought to be) liable for the loss flowing from those defects, is not a new one and has been the subject of significant legal and academic debate since at least the 1980s.  This article considers the liability of software developers in negligence and under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and also discusses whether insurance is available to offset these risks for the developer. [Read more…]

App developers must take care with Apple Developer’s License

Software Developers (Developers) who build iOS Applications (Apps) for use on Apple devices must adhere to strict requirements set by Apple.

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