Commission indicates 1991 Software Copyright Directive provisions on decompilation are not ripe for review

The European Commission has released a working document which reviews existing EU copyright legislation and in which the Commission makes suggestion for amendments to the existing rules. As regards the 1991 Software Directive’s provisions on decompilation, the Commission suggests that these do not require amendment:

“( Decompilation) The objective of Article 6 on decompilation is to ensure the ability of two or more computer hardware devices or software components to connect, exchange information and work together, including those of different manufacturers. This is of key importance for competition, innovation and market entry in the software market. The implementation and effects of this provision were reviewed by the Commission in its above-mentioned Report on the implementation of the Software Directive. The Report concludes that “the Directive and in particular the decompilation provisions were the result of intensive debate among all interested circles and the balance found then appears to be still valid today”.
However, more recently it has been argued that the scope for decompilation is in practice too limited and does not sufficiently meet the objectives of the provision and, in particular, the current market demands. On the other hand, as yet there is no jurisprudence to support these claims; nor is there any other evidence to suggest that there would be a need for revision.”