Definition and protection of a computer program in criminal law

Czasopismo Prawa Karnego i Nauk Penalnych Rok XXII: 2018, numer 1
Journal of Criminal Law and Penal Studies Volume XXII: 2018, No. 1

Adam Behan – Ph.D. candidate, Jagiellonian University

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computer program, cloud computing, programming language, copyright law, programing libraries, website


This article deals with the problem of interpretation of the concept of computer program in criminal law, and interpretation problems arising from the development of information technology. These issues are addressed by using dogmatic and comparative methods. In this context article presents the history of the concept of computer program in legal acts, including international and European ones. In the following part a critical analysis of the definition of computer program in the Polish Criminal Code is presented, as well as author’s conclusions regarding the legal qualification of cybercrimes. The conclusions of the article cover both the informatic issues important for the interpretation and application of criminal law, and the legal implications of this position. One of the main conclusions of the article is that there is no justification for implementation of a legal definition of computer program into the Criminal Code, regardless of the problems with its application associated with an improper understanding of computer program by lawyers.