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Developers of Russian software can be obliged to disclose source code of program

Russian governmental decree prescribes to use Russian software at the expense of Russian state budget. If there is Russian analogue of foreign software the state authority must obtain Russian software product. The special register of Russian software lists all software admitted as produced in Russia.

The Russian ministry of communication (MinCom) decided to change requirements to be complied with in order to get in to this list. MinCom proposed to oblige developers of software to provide council of experts, deciding whether software is a Russian analogue of foreign software, with source code of program. Council of experts consists of software developers from different companies, representatives of industrial associations and state authorities of different levels.

Currently MinCom receives a copy of software without technical means of copyright protection. Source code would allow not only analysing of software but also changing it, as experts believe. Moreover, developers, sitting at council of experts and deciding whether software complies with requirements in order to be a Russian product, also can be competitors of applying software developer; they also will have an access to someone’s developments and can use them.

Relevant amendments propose to oblige developers to provide relevant state authority with “materials, allowing identification of software, in the form of source code, object code or in other form peculiar to programming language in which the software is submitted in a volume suitable for its identification”. Such amendment is necessary in order to define whether software contains foreign component.

But software developers dislike this idea and proposed amendments. They believe many companies can refuse to participate in public procurement. Moreover, some programs must be updated on weekly basis. Should it mean that developer each week, if not each day, must provide the council of experts with each update?