Software law

The world around us and living in it is more and more connected with communication technologies. Some people do not fully realize this phenomenon, but they actually use computers or similar technology not only every day, but many times a day and the frequency of this contact is constantly increasing. The law firm Musil and partners is focusing on complex legal services in this area. We provide our services not only to the professionals evolving new software, or distributing the software, but also to the people dealing with their personal problems in this area, for example when they suffer a loss during using a software.

Law doesn’t consist solely of statutes, but of a wide spectrum of formal and material sources, which influence the law by different means. The purpose of professional legal services is not only the assessment of the client’s rights and duties according to the text of the exact legal rule, but also on the basis of other very important sources of rights and duties, which influence not only the interpretation of the legal rule, but also its application in general. The linguistic interpretation of the legal rule doesn’t serve as the definitive source for establishing a connection between the facts told by the client and the legal rule. It is always crucial to examine the whole context of the rights and the duties in question, which can be dramatically influenced by for example general principles of law or by jurisprudence. Professional and deep consideration of rights and duties of the exact subject can be done only by experts, which are able to study the whole context, not only be reading, what it written in the text of the contract or the statute.

The legal advice provided by our company is also focused on a complex consulting and advice for the creators of new projects in the branch of software law. We are ready to provide our clients with all the necessary employment documents for their future employees, so that the upcoming project or the company is fully ready for promotion on the market and for an effective management.

License agreement, open source and free software

The license provider enables the license transferee to exercise the rights of his/her intellectual property via a license agreement, which is often called only a license. The legal relations which are created when a subject provide a license to another have their own and very important specifics, which must always be precisely defined in the contract, so that all the parties and their rights are kept in safety. It is very important to realize, that the license provider gives away his/her own idea, which could be used by himself/herself to make money.

Choosing legal advice is certainly worthwhile in some cases when working with open source software or even free software. For example, countless programs of this kind can be used by companies for both office and computing. Open source or free software do not need to serve only as a paradigm for creating your own projects but can also be your daily helpers to run your company or even your home. However, if you are harmed by the malfunction of such software or if personal data leaks, it is always necessary to observe all the specifics of using this type of computer program.

Legal protection of software and piracy

The issue of software or IT piracy in general is an unpleasant spot in the world of information technology. Risks and detriment result mainly from the creators of the given computer program, whose development is often invested considerable funds. However, software piracy is not only a problem for software developers, it also affects individuals who use computer programs for even private purposes. Even they may commit copyright infringement related to the software to benefit themselves or third parties.

The law firm Musil and partners also focuses on providing software developers with a legal advice in order to fully protect their rights associated with the project. However, legal advice in this area does not focus solely on rights and obligations directly related to the product being developed, such as copyright law. For the most effective functioning of the project, it is advisable to treat the legal structure of the company behind it. We can recommend, for example, professional processing of labor-law documents (employment contracts, etc.), contractual securing of employee confidentiality, detailed definition of rights and obligations of employees and employers in connection with the computer programs used in the project creation.

We also deal with issues related to software crimes, which can be seen from a broader perspective than just as a violation of copyright. If you use a software from an untrusted source, an unauthorized collection of your data may occur, which may have negative consequences for non-entrepreneurs, but especially for businesses. They can lose their valuable know-how, which can significantly weaken their market position.

Confidentiality agreement in IT – NDA

Our law firm also provides legal advice in the area of contractual confidentiality through the so-called NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Legal relationships arising from the disposition, development or other commercial use of software often require the disclosure of valuable information that can easily be misused by third parties. The means of protecting such knowledge, data or know-how in general is precisely the NDA, whose precise processing is absolutely necessary for the actual and not merely the purported protection of the information communicated. Therefore, the NDA always needs to be optimized in detail with respect to its specific subject matter; in the vast majority of cases, non-optimized contractual models cannot provide good protection even in the case of simpler legal relationships.

Therefore, an experienced team of legal advisors at the law firm always listens carefully to the individual requirements of a client seeking contractual confidentiality and prepares the NDA tailored with an emphasis on the accuracy and motivation of the parties to comply with the agreement.

Solving liability for defects and damages

One of the fundamental legal problems solved on a daily basis by most legal service providers is compensation for the harm suffered by the client. The law firm Musil and partners focus on extrajudicial and judicial solutions to harm, not only in the area of software law. We have extensive experience in the areas of general civil law, business law and criminal law.

However, especially when purchasing a product, it is necessary to pay careful attention to the complex structure of the emerging claims. Liability for defects is not the same as liability for a eventually caused damage. In general, legal theory says that liability for defects has an exclusive position over the liability for damage, which must be taken into account when asserting an incurred claim and thus enforcing it precisely according to established rules, i.e. reproaching the defect correctly and above all complying with prescribed deadlines. Damages can be solved only in the case of so-called consequential injury.

The law firm Musil and Partners has an extensive experience in extrajudicial and judicial responsibilities in general for defects in performance of the contract (delay, defective performance) but also for product defects, non-material damage compensation and damages in general and very complicated cases. As a part of the special liability for damages, the application of the claim must always assess the interrelationship of the individual provisions and place the facts under the most appropriate. On the basis of a truly correct legal assessment, it can be concluded that, for example, the opposing party's liability is not based on fault, which facilitates the recovery of the harm suffered.

Legal relationships arising from software development

Software development is not just a programmer's work. Despite the relatively short history of this legal issue in general and when compared with other legal issues, it is possible to observe the importance of protecting the rights and obligations of selected entities involved in this process. Especially in the case of a completely novel and groundbreaking idea, insufficient legal protection can be a stumbling block for the whole project.

Legal consultancy in software development focuses mainly on legal analysis of emerging software (e.g. possible collision with other software), assistance in defining and implementing the project itself, labor law documents, confidentiality agreement, contractual documentation necessary for commercial use of the software developed (sale, lease, maintenance, removal of defects, and more).

Outsourcing and cloud computing

From companies specializing in IT to smaller businesses, they can all often use contracted third parties for their activities for non-core activities that they do not meet, or they have lack of the necessary expertise. Thus, they reduce their overall economic costs by saving not only the specific funds they can use in another area, but also the time needed for their core business.

Outsourcing may consist for example of the creation or maintenance of an information system for companies specializing in areas other than software, but also a company whose main activity is related to IT may use a third party for each secondary activity. Legal advice in this area focuses mainly on the preparation of the necessary contractual documentation, which together with the law is a building block of mutual rights and obligations of contractual contractors.

An example is BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), where a company transfers to a third party a selected segment of the business process, such as the distribution of the product being developed. This developer can increase the efficiency of the development itself as it does not have to invest additional resources in the distribution and can focus on areas where the product can be further improved.

Cloud computing is also a widely used service today. Different providers of this service set up the services differently, legal counseling of the law firm Musil and Partners focuses not only on the creation of contractual documentation in the case of concluding a contract, but also on commenting on existing contracts or those submitted by the other contracting party. With this component of legal advice, we increase the legal certainty of our clients, who can be sure that all their requirements are carefully taken into account in the contract. Through cloud computing, a wide range of applications is available for both business and non-business entities, who also make their data available to the service provider, whose legal protection should not be neglected due to the simple conclusion of the submitted contract, sometimes without perfect reading. Due to the so-called principle of directory, a rule different from that contained in the law can be included in the contract in many cases, subject to other legal conditions. The contract therefore has a very important position with regard to the rights and obligations of the contractual parties, not just the specificities of the service.

Contractual agenda

We are preparing, for example:
  • License agreements
  • Contracts for work done
  • Working documents for modifying relationships with programmers
  • Contract governing the use of software by employees
  • NDA
  • and more

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