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Institute for Legal Questions on Free and Open Source Software


It is ifrOSS‘ goal to accompany legislative initiatives that relate to free software and open content directly or indirectly by providing guidance with regard to legal policy and academic legal developments. The institute is committed to future oriented legal development in Germany and Europe which takes into account the public interest with regard to innovation and progress as well as the interests of other effected persons or groups.
There was already some success in this regard. Members of ifrOSS were represented in working groups and at expert hearings in the discussions about the law about the reform of copyright law in the information society (first and second amendment). The institute provided multiple statements regarding different rules and regulations in these amendments. Some of the new rules in force since the year 2000 have their origin in submissions of the institute. One example is § 32 (3) s. 3 UrhG also known as the ‘linux clause’ that has its origin in a statement made by ifrOSS in 2002 with regard copyright contract law. Through the second amendment in 2008 three additional ‘linux clauses’ were introduced to German copyright law (§§ 32a (3) s. 3,, 32c (3) s. 2, and 31a (1) s 2 UrhG), again because of statements submitted by ifrOSS. All these rules provide essential exceptions for the exploitation and use of copyrighted works as open source and open content from the otherwise mandatory rules of copyright law.
Furthermore ifrOSS participated in the discussion about the suggestion of the European Commission for a directive about patenting of computer implemented inventions.. After the directive failed to gather sufficient support the focus of the debate has again shifted towards the progression of the current legal framework through case law.
ifrOSS will continue to monitor the political development that are related to Open Source and Open Content and will continue to support their interest. Current topics are the third amendment of copyright law that is being discussed and a reform of insolvency law for improved reliability of licenses in case of insolvency.