Open Source Projects

In the software industry, a distinction is made between proprietary and open source software. While open source software is available on the market for use by anyone, proprietary software created individually for third parties can be licensed for a fee. This can result in problems where a connection is made between the open source software and the proprietary software. The ability to use open source software freely involves an implicit acceptance of a license agreement for use, which imposes certain obligations on the user. The most striking obligation is "copyleft" in some license agreements, which obligates the user to provide the entire source code of the completed product freely to third parties. This is a consequence that is frequently unwanted, and in some cases definitely needs to be avoided.
When combining several open source products, the license conditions that apply to each of them may not be compatible with each other. This may mean that the license is considered not to have been granted. To use the software in that case would be copyright infringement. Such copyright infringements are asserted by Mr. Patrick McHardy in numerous warnings. 
We plan and provide support for your software projects in order to avoid problems of this kind and to identify solutions. In the event of a dispute, we will help you with conflict resolution, out of court, and where necessary, in court. In the case of warnings such as those issued by Mr McHardy, we will defend you against the asserted claims.
It should also be noted that, contrary to the general view, software can also be patent-protected so that when using certain technologies, patent licenses must be acquired from patent pools or individual patent holders. We assist in analyzing the necessary licenses and in determining which the best license for each use is. Here too, we can provide support in case of conflict, both in and out of court.

Past Events (Selection)

  • The range and border of copyleft in a Microservices Architecture, First Annual International Copyleft Conference, February 4, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium
  • Schnittstelle Urheberrecht – Informationstechnologie (Schwerpunkt Open Source Software), Lecture of Dominik Eickemeier for the Deutsche Anwaltsinstitut (DAI), Berlin, April 26, 2016, Heusenstamm October 5, 2016
  • Simplification by choice of law clauses in Open Source Licenses?, Lecture of Lutz M. Keppeler in the framework of the Licensing Workshop of the Free Software Foundation Europe, Barcelona, April 13, 2016
  • Rechtsfragen bei Entwicklung und Vertrieb von ILIAS Content und der Kombination von ILIAS mit proprietärer Software, Lecture in the framework of the ILIAS-Konferenz, Dortmund, September 9, 2015
  • Open-Source-Software – Grundzüge und aktuelle Entwicklungen, Lecture in the framework of the Herbstseminar im Urheber- und Medienrecht, Cologne, September 5, 2015
  • Einführung in das Open Source-Lizenzrecht, Arbeitskreis Urheber- und Medienrecht, Cologne, February 10, 2015
  • Lizenzkonflikte bei der Kombination verschiedener Open-Source-Lizenzen als “tickende Zeitbombe” des Informationszeitalters?, Software Freedom Day 2014, Cologne, September 20, 2014

Publications (Selection)

  • OLG Hamm: Kostenlose Zurverfügungstellung von Software unter GNU durch Universität, Computer und Recht: IT und Software, Edition 12/2017 by Dominik Eickemeier and Dr. Lutz Martin Keppeler
  • Rechtliche Implikationen der Einbettung von (Open Source-) Software in technischen Normen und Dokumenten, in: InTeR, 2017, 79-85 by Anton Amman, Dr. Lutz Martin Keppeler and Dr. Ubbo Aßmus
  • Open Source Klauseln in Softwareentwicklungsverträgen, ITRB 11/2015, 266ff. by Dr. Lutz Martin Keppeler und Dominik Eickemeier
  • Open-Source-Lizenzmanagement, Verwaltung einer Lizenz mit Maven-Plug-ins, in: Java Magazin 8. 2015, 103-108 together with Markward Schubert
  • Wann erstreckt sich die GPLv2 auf eine komplexe Software "as a whole"?, Eine aktuelle Bestandsaufnahme der Diskussion um die Reichweite des Copyleft-Effektes, in: CR 2015, . 9-15

The following Practice Groups are dedicated primarily to the field Open Source Projects

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