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11. What is, in fact, a computer program?
Although there is no unanimously accepted definition, most of the definitions included in various documents or various law systems essentially express the same thing. For example:
- According to the standard Law from 1978 issued by the International Organization for Intellectual Property, computer programs are " an ensemble of instructions that are able - from the moment they are transferred in a format readable by a machine which can process information - to indicate, execute or allow the obtaining of a function, task or result."
- According to the Law on Copyright from 1976, subsequently modified, in the USA the computer program is "an ensemble of commands or instructions that are directly or indirectly used in a computer in order to produce certain results".
- According to the Council of the European Community, direction 91/ 250/ CEE from 1991, the computer program is "an ensemble of instructions with the purpose of allowing the execution of functions by an information processing system named computer".
- In Romania, Law 8/1996 on Copyright and Connected Rights does not contain a definition of the computer program, but it specifies, however, which is the object of legal protection.
Dan Livescu


12. What is to be understood by "any expression of a program"?
The understanding of the expression used by the Romanian law in order to define the object of legal protection of computer programs, by means of copyright, presupposes the understanding of what a computer program really is, as well as of what its various expressions are. The main expressions of a computer program are: operating system, application program, preliminary conception material, source code, object code, mnemonics, microcode, manuals, "look and feel", visual displays, entry formats.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut


13. What does "operating system" mean?
The operating system is a program or collection of programs that ensures the basic functioning of the computer as well as an intermediary between the user and the computer. The computer cannot function without an operating system. It is the one that initiates and develops the logical connections between the hardware and the software of what, in everyday language, the users call "computer". Examples of operating systems : Microsoft Windows 2000, UNIX, Linux,
MS-DOS.
Mircea Badut


14. What does "application program" mean?
Application programs are those programs that turn the computer into a tool that performs certain tasks and/or solves certain specific problems, such as: text processing, text editing, accounting, financial analysis, legal programs, planning, setting up data bases, message management, designing (architecture, engineering), survey and control of industrial processes, Internet "navigation", etc. Examples of application programs: Microsoft Word, Corel Word Perfect, Sun StarWriter, Lotus WordPro, Aldus Page Maker, Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, Sun StarCalc, Adobe, Macromedia, Legis, The Legal Library, Lege4, Agenda Legislativa, Inventar Legislativ, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, etc.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut


15. What does preliminary conception material mean ?
Preliminary conception material represents the materialization, in natural language, of the idea and of the activity of analysis. This materialization may contain:
-the list of specifications and requirements that must be performed / ensured by the program conceived.
-a description of the ways of functioning and of solving the requirements of the program
-overall logical patterns ( in graphical, textual, symbolic or mixed form)
-particular logical patterns
-any technical notes (information regarding the conception/programming) with the role of preparing/controlling/running the activity of conceiving the program.
Any computer program is based on a preliminary conception material. It is the first step in conceiving the program.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut


16. What does "manuals" mean?
Manuals are essentially documents, printed or in digital form(files of the program, Internet sites, etc.) which contain information and instructions about the program they are attached to. The information in the manuals may have as object: the presentation of the program (destination, functions); the guidelines (a complete description of the utilization/exploitation ways), the assistance during the utilization of the program ("help"), other pieces of information about the program.
Mircea Badut


17. What does "source code" mean?
Source code is a fundamental intermediary expression in conceiving the program and it represents the translation of some parts of the preliminary conception material into a programming language, using the grammar rules of that language. It is not expressed in a natural language and it remains obscured for someone who is not familiar with Informatics, but it is coherent for specialists.
The source code is one of the most important expressions of a computer program, because it contains the details about the conception of the program and it is used by the programmer in order to subsequently modify or develop the program. It is a very well guarded secret by most of the companies which produce computer programs. The source code is undeniably protected by copyright and it is internationally used as evidence in order to prove a computer program genuine.
Dan Livescu, Mircea Badut
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