EU Directive 2009/24/EC codifies Directive 91/250/EEC and its amendment Directive 93/98/EEC and forms an important component to the EU’s definition of interoperability. It balances the rights of an author of a computer program to authorise its reproduction or alteration against the rights of a licensee to obtain information that is necessary to achieve the interoperability of an independently created computer program subject to certain conditions.
Interoperability is defined in the following terms:
The function of a computer program is to communicate and work together with other components of a computer system and with users and, for this purpose, a logical and, where appropriate, physical interconnection and interaction is required to permit all elements of software and hardware to work with other software and hardware and with users in all the ways in which they are intended to function. The parts of the program which provide for such interconnection and interaction between elements of software and hardware are generally known as ‘interfaces’. This functional interconnection and interaction is generally known as ‘interoperability’; such interoperability can be defined as the ability to exchange information and mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.
Download the directive here.