How to legally protect a software program?

1. How can you avoid paying penalties of up to 10.000 ron?
2. Who organizes these controls and who applies sanctions?
3. What are the steps to legally distribute a software program?
4. What are the terms of settlement and required fees?
5. How to get the producer’s agreement?

Romanian Copyright Office (RCO) is a specialized body of the central public administration subordinated to the Government, with legal personality, being the sole regulator, tracker, body of surveillance, licensing, arbitration and technical-scientific ascertainment in the field of copyright and related rights. The National Register of Computer Programs (NRCP) is a part of RCO.

When a company orders an IT company to develop a software program and wants to benefit from the right to distribute the program in Romania, the company should take into account some details. Therefore, the company in charge of developing the program is the owner of the copyright details, rights which were born at the moment when the program was finished. Through the contract under which was commissioned the developing of the program, the company that actually made the program assigns the all rights, in Romania, to the company that commissioned the program for an unlimited period of time. In this case, you need to enroll the program in the NRCP.

Registration in the NRCP within RCO is mandatory for authorized individuals and legal entities that unfold in Romania activities such as: manufacturing, import, distribution, rental and marketing computer programs.

In order to legally distribute the program you must follow the steps below:

– You need to fill out the necessary forms;
– You need to submit copies of the certificate of registration with the Trade Registry/tax registration certificate (only for non-profit legal persons);
– The agreement of the manufacturer (which states that the manufacturer of the program agrees that company X can distribute their product in Romania). If the agreement is written in a foreign language, it must be translated. There is no need for this agreement to be initialed by a lawyer or notary;
License model (letter of authorization which accompanies the computer program from the copyright owner to use of that program, which will contain the terms and conditions accepted). This document is required when you register as a producer of the software. If you only want to be a distributor, this model will not be required;
Program sample, only for producers (art. 20, paragraph. 3, letter. c, of O.G. 25/2006).

The validity of the certificate of registration to NRCP is 1 year from date of issue, period after which you have to apply to renew it.
Prior to registration in NRCP you will have to get the consent of the copyright owner (the person who developed the software). This agreement shall be submitted in writing in the file prepared for registration in NRCP.

The terms of settlement of applications are:
– 4 working days for applications submitted on-line;
– 10 working days for applications submitted at the RCO;
– 2 working days (for emergencies).

Fees for registration are:
– Registration of computer software production/distribution activity – 50 ron;
– Emergency fee plus extra charge – 300 ron;
– Completing documentation request – 10 ron.

The following acts shall be punished as follows:
– Non-registration or non-inclusion in the national registers managed by RCO, with fine between 2.000-10.000 ron;
– Production, reproduction, distribution, marketing computer programs in other areas than those mentioned in the registration certificate, with fine between 1.000-5.000 ron and confiscation of products;
– Failure to comply with the presentation at the request of the legal bodies of the supporting documents for the registration and enrollment in the national registers managed by RCO, with fine between 1.000-5.000 ron and confiscation of products if not submitted relevant documents.
Ascertainment and sanctioning are performed by police officers competent in the field and by the Financial Guard or Romanian Gendarmerie.

In case you need further clarifications regarding the protection of your software program, please write to my email address.

Have your say