OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

The Legal Protection of Software

Implications for Latecomer Strategies in Newly Industrialising Economies (NIEs) and Middle-Income Economies (MIEs)

The issue of the nature and extent of legal protection of software arises in the context of a global software industry in which: a) suppliers and users are both heavily concentrated in the OECD countries; b) US firms dominate the global market, especially for packaged software; c) software Research and Development (R&D) is performed mostly in the developed countries. As yet, very few developing country firms have emerged as internationally competitive software suppliers. The leading software producing and exporting country, the United States, has instituted a system of copyright protection for software which it has sought to export to other countries, even though there remains considerable uncertainty within the United States about the appropriateness of this approach. Indeed, the issue of what sort of regime is best suited to software protection remains an unresolved one.

Most developing country software firms are involved in custom software development, for which copyright ...


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