Software protection in Italy

The law explicitly states that the Copyright Act, following the modification introduced with the DLGS n. 518 of 29th December 1992, must protect the software.

The copyright

Software protection in Italy is governed by the Copyright Act, which  protects the “source programs”, so intended as the language the programmes have been written in, in practice the listing, and the “objects programmes”, meant as the translation of the program language in bit or machine language. The protection is also extended to the preliminary works, including flow-charts representing “ideas and principles which stand at their basis”. The protection concerns the “expressive form” too, i.e. the interface considered from the utility and information technology’s point of view. If moving images or other creations are included in the interface, these will have to be protected independently as per the general rules of the Copyright Act.

The patent

This kind of protection, believed to be more than sufficient by independent developers, is sometimes considered too weak by companies that would like to see protected the technical solution found to realize a certain programme. It is for this reason that, during the course of the years, the offices started accepting patent applications for software, even though with some limitations. Legislators are currently examining several proposals to introduce the software patent in Europe.