Computer Software

– Law 23 of 1982, Law 44 of 1993 on Copyrights and Neighboring Rights and Law 1453 of 2011.
– Decree 1360 of 1989 (effective June 23, 1989) on software protection.
– Decision 351 of the Andean Community on databases.

Membership in International Conventions

– Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, revised at Paris 1971, since March 7, 1988.
– Universal Copyright Convention, as revised at Paris on July 24, 1971.
– WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).

General Remarks

By means of Decree 1360 of 1989, it is expressly provided that software falls within the definition of “Literary Work” at the Copyrights Statute (Law 23 of 1982), and thus is entitled to such protection. Decision 351 sets forth the protection for databases.


Originality: in order to be granted protection under the Copyright Statute, the software in question must be an original intellectual creation.

Registration: creation rather than registration is required in order for protection to arise; registration before the Copyright Office is, however, required. Its effect is to provide the work’s owner with a proof of its ownership. Applicant may furnish, along with the Copyright Office’s form, two out of the following three elements: the program, a description of the program, or the ancillary documentation, as each of these elements are defined by said Decree.

Duration: copyright subsists for eighty years after the death of the author, or for fifty years after the creation, where the copyrights are vested in a company.

Rights granted: authors are granted both economic and moral rights.

Employer’s software: if software is created by persons under employment or similar agreements, economic rights belong to the employer unless otherwise stipulated, although moral rights remain vested in the employees, but the assignment must be recorded in one way or another at the Copyright Office.

Assignment: economic rights on the software are assignable, moral rights are non-assignable. The assignment must be registered at the Colombian Copyright Office.

Infringement: unauthorized copies, including downloading from the Internet or storage in the RAM memory of a computer, constitute infringement (except for one copy that the owner of an authorized copy may use for private purposes) and infringement gives rise to civil and/or criminal liability. The criminal code includes a set of regulations concerning protection of copyright in the digital era, in particular, the criminal sanction for the elimination or violation of digital anti-circumvention measures.