Negative effects: legal liability

The Lithuanian law establishes civil, administrative or criminal liability for copyright or related rights offences. Civil copyright remedies are regulated by LCRR RL (Article 77–86) as well as general provisions of the Civil Code and the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Lithuania. Administrative and criminal liability for copyright and related rights offences are established respectively by the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Lithuania (CAO RL) and the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania (CC RL).

Administrative liability for copyright and related rights offences is regulated by Article 214(10) of CAO RL Copyright and Related Rights Offence. Under administrative liability regulations a person held liable for illegal use of computer software or the business entity manager or another natural person in charge may be fined with a fine from 289 EUR to 579 EUR including confiscation of illegal software copies. If the offence is repeated the offender may be fined with a fine of up to 868 EUR including confiscation of illegal software copies and their production tools or equipment.

Such offenders will be subject to criminal liability in accordance with provisions of CC RL Article 192 Illegal Reproduction, Illegal Copy Distribution, Transportation or Storage of a Literature, Science, Art Work or Related Rights Object. The offender is subject to criminal liability when the value of illegal computer software against legal sales rates is more than 3,800 EUR and the software is used for commercial purposes. Under criminal liability the offender, entity manager or another person in charge may be fined with community service, a fine of up to 19,000 EUR, restriction on freedom, arrest and imprisonment of up to three years. A legal entity may face a fine of up to 1,9 million EUR, its activity restriction and even its liquidation.

Apart from administrative and criminal liability imposed by the state such offences may give rise to civil liability. Any illegal use of computer software gives rise to civil liability therefore the person must cover the direct damage to copyright holders.

VPIA RECOMMENDS:

To prevent cases when the staff installs illegal computer software into the entity computers without the management’s knowledge of it the business entity should have a clear and unambiguous internal policy regarding the use of illegal software (in the employment contract, collective agreement, internal procedure, staff regulations); explain internal legislation and make it available to the staff including the requirement for them to update their knowledge of internal regulations. It is useful to periodically test the staff knowledge of internal legislation regulating the conduct inside the company and its provisions on legal use of computer software.

For preparation of internal company‘s policy you may use Recommendations for Software Management prepared by VPIA and Association of Accountants and Auditors of Lithuania (please see Software Management).

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