Use of computer programmes

Computer programmes are protected as works under Article 1 in accordance with Article 2. See further Chapter 4 for what right does the copyright holder have.

Computer programmes may be used in accordance with the exception provisions of the Copyright Act. See further Exceptions and its sub chapters. Article 11 a which contains provisions for temporary copy making are not applied to computer programmes. Provisions of private use in Article 12 are not applied to computer programmes. See further Right to make temporary copies of works and Private use.

If rights to the computer programme are received through an agreement, the terms of the agreement must be followed. The terms may be more restrictive than the provisions of the act. The terms may require that the parties to the agreement make sure that all database users abide by the terms of the agreement.

There are, however, also specific provisions concerning computer programmes in the Copyright Act which mainly may not be bypassed.

According to Article 25 j the lawful owner of the computer programme may make such copies of the programme and such alterations to the programme that are necessary for using the programme for its intended purpose. Errors may be corrected as well. In addition the rightful user of the programme is entitled to observe, study or test the functioning of the programme in order to determine the ideas and principals which underlie any element of the programme if he does so while performing any of the acts of loading, displaying, running, transmitting or storing the programme.

According to Article 25 k the code may be reproduced or translated if it is indispensable to acquire such information with which to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer programme with other programmes, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. these acts are performed by the licensee or by another person having a right to use a copy of the programme or on their behalf by a person authorized to do so,
  2. the information necessary to achieve interoperability has not previously been readily available to the persons referred to in point 1 and
  3. these acts are confined to the parts of the original programme which are necessary to achieve interoperability.

So all the conditions must be met at the same time.

Information which thus has been gained may not

  1. be used for goals other than to achieve the interoperability of the independently created computer programme,
  2. be given to others except when necessary for the interoperability of the independently created computer programme and
  3. to be used for the development, production or marketing of a computer programme substantially similar in its expression or for any other act which infringes copyright.

These provisions are, however, applied only to databases under the Finnish Copyright Act. See further Application of the Finnish Copyright Act and how to use material to which other provisions are applied.

Opinions given by the Copyright Council: