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AG Szpunar—licensee may decompile a computer program to correct errors unless restricted by licence (Top System SA v Belgium)

AG Szpunar—licensee may decompile a computer program to correct errors unless restricted by licence (Top System SA v Belgium)
Published on: 13 April 2021
Published by: LexisPSL
  • AG Szpunar—licensee may decompile a computer program to correct errors unless restricted by licence (Top System SA v Belgium)
  • What are the practical implications of this opinion?
  • What was the background?
  • What was the AG’s opinion?
  • Case details

Article summary

TMT analysis: According to the Advocate General (AG) Szpunar, the 1991 Software Directive, Directive 91/250/EC allows licensees to decompile a licensed computer program, to the extent decompilation is necessary to correct errors in the program. Decompilation is the reverse process of compilation, aiming at creating human-readable (and editable) source code from the machine-readable object code (also known as binary code). According to the AG, the right to decompile for error correction is however strictly limited and only applies unless the licence agreement provides otherwise. This case concerned the provisions of the repealed 1991 Software Directive but the relevant Articles are substantively identical to those contained in the current Software Directive. Written by Hakim Haouideg, partner at Fieldfisher. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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