Diritto & Internet

Court of Bologna: professional freelancers have the right to use pirated software

Professional freelancers are allowed to use non original software applications as their activity of providing professional services cannot be considered as a business concern.

With this motivation, the Court of Bologna acquitted an architect accused of copyright infringement for using 9 illegally duplicated software applications in his professional activity including Autodesk Autocad, Microsoft Office and several Adobe applications, for a total value of €17,835 net of VAT.

The architect ended up in Court after an inspection by the tax police unit of the Italian Financial Police Corps carried out in his offices. The charge related to the violation of art. no. 171 bis of Law no. 633 of 1941, which punishes “whoever unlawfully duplicates computer programs for gain and whoever for the same purpose imports, distributes, sells, keeps for commercial or business purposes or rents programs contained in packages not labelled by the SIAE (the Italian Authors and Publishers Association) “.

The judge Alberto Zanoli acquitted the architect maintaining that no crime had been committed since the work done by the architect, is incontrovertibly to be considered as a professional service and as such differs from the activity of a business concern to which art. 171 bis of Law no. 633 of 1941 refers.

According to some commentators the principle expressed in this judgment also seems to apply to the purely private use of pirated programs.

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Scientific Director
Prof. Avv. Giusella Finocchiaro
Editorial Curator
Dott. Giulia Giapponesi