Linux clause

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The so-called Linux clause is a provision of German copyright law passed on March 22, 2002 , which is intended to ensure the validity of licenses for free software and other media. Paragraph 3 sentence 3 of Section 32 Appropriate Remuneration of the Copyright Act states :

"The author can, however, grant a simple right of use for everyone free of charge ."

This provision, called the Linux clause in the media , made it clear for the first time that the creator of the work has the right to forego his financial income opportunities in favor of the general public.

Corresponding regulations have been found since the copyright reform through the so-called “2. Korb " § 31a paragraph 1 sentence 2 UrhG , according to which no written form is required for a contract on unknown types of use, in § 32a paragraph 3 sentence 3 UrhG , according to which the author is entitled to an appropriate participation even if there is a noticeable disparity between remuneration and benefits from the Can waive the use of his work and § 32c paragraph 3 sentence 2 UrhG , which regulates the waiver of appropriate remuneration for later known types of use.

Background and story

On May 22nd, 2000, the Federal Ministry of Justice submitted a bill to modernize copyright law. The provisions on the appropriate remuneration of the author stipulated that the creator of a work was entitled to an appropriate share of the income. This proposal has been heavily criticized in the open source movement because it would make the business model of free software and other works based on licenses such as the GPL impossible. This led to the fact that, at the suggestion of the Institute for Legal Issues in Free and Open Source Software, the current provision in the draft law of June 26, 2001 was adopted by parliamentary groups in the Bundestag . In the justification it said:

“In the interests of copyright protection, the statutory right to remuneration is indispensable in advance, unless the author grants everyone a simple right of use free of charge (paragraph 4, sentence 1). The incorporated restriction prevents feared legal uncertainty for "open source" programs and other "open content"; In the area of ​​such licensing relationships, in which the author makes his work available to the general public free of charge, there can neither be a disrupted contractual parity to the detriment of the author, nor are any possibilities of abuse conceivable in this respect. "

This proposal was included in the passed law. It puts the use of free licenses such as the GNU General Public License in Germany on a legally secure basis.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Draft of a second law regulating copyright in the information society of June 15, 2006 (PDF; 961 kB)
  2. ^ Draft of a law to strengthen the contractual position of authors and performing artists (PDF; 153 kB)
  3. ^ Opinion of the ifrOSS on the proposals for a regulation of the copyright contract law of April 19, 2001 ( Memento of the original of June 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 45 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. bill of the SPD and the Greens Group, BT printed matter 14/6433 (PDF, 127 kB)