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German Free Software License (English) [2004] PubRL 2 (1 January 2004)

German Free Software License

Version: No

Copyright: 2004 Ministry of Science and Research.


Type: Software

Media: Software

Country: Germany

Licence text


Software is more than a mere economic asset. It

is the technical foundation of the information

society. Therefore, the issue of the public share

in software is of particular importance.

Conventionally licensed computer programs are

distributed in object code form only, and the

user is not entitled to modify or pass on the

program to third parties. The license model for

Free Software (synonym "Open Source Software"),

however, grants comprehensive rights in the

handling of the program. The German Free Software

License is based on this license model. It gives

you the right to use the program in a

comprehensive manner. You are allowed to modify

the computer program according to your

requirements or to reproduce or distribute it and

make it publicly available in a modified or

unmodified form. These rights are granted free of


However, the German Free Software License

combines these rights with certain obligations

that will ensure the free circulation of the

program and all further developments published.

If you distribute the program or make it publicly

available, you have to include a copy of this

license to anyone receiving the program from you

and enable access to its source code. Another

obligation arises from further developments of

the program. Modifications to the program which

you distribute or make publicly available shall

be released in accordance with the conditions of

this license.

German Free Software License takes into account

the special requirements of German and European

law. It is drafted bilingually and thus intended

for international distribution.

Section 0 Definitions

Documentation: Description of composition,

architecture and/or structure of the programming

process and/or functionalities of the program,

irrespective of whether they were done in the

Source Code or separately.

License: The agreement concluded between the

licensor and you, with the content of the German

Free Software License and/or the pertaining


Licensee: Every natural or legal entity who has

accepted this License.

Program: Every computer program which has been

distributed or made publicly available by the

entitled person in accordance with the terms of

this License.

Object Code: The machine-readable form of the


Public/publicly: Not solely directed towards a

certain group of people who have a personal

connection to each other or are associated

through their affiliation with a legal person or

public organisation.

Making Publicly Available: The public

distribution of the Program in an immaterial

form, in particular, by making it available for

download in data networks.

Entitled Person(s): The author(s) or other

holders of the exclusive right to use for the


Source Code: The form of the Program represented

in programming language and readable for humans.

Modification: Any extension, shortening and/or

alteration of the Program, including, but not

limited to further developments.

Distribution: The public passing on of material

copies to third parties, in particular, onto

storage devices or in connection with hardware.

Complete Source Code: The Source Code in the form

used for preparation and/or modification together

with the configuration files and software tools

required for compilation and installation,

provided that these are not commonly used in the

required form (e.g. standard compiler) or can be

downloaded by any Internet user without license


Section 1 Rights

(1) You may reproduce and distribute the Program

and make it publicly available in an unmodified


(2) You may modify the Program and reproduce and

distribute modified versions and make them

publicly available. It is also permitted to

combine the Program or parts thereof with other


(3) You obtain the rights free of charge.

Section 2 Obligations for Distribution and Making

Publicly Available

(1) If you distribute the Program or make it

publicly available, be it in unmodified or

modified form, be it in combination with other

programs or in connection with hardware, you also

have to provide or include the following:

1. all references to this License in the Source

Code and/or Object Code;

2. all references in the Source Code and/or

Object Code containing information about the

author of the Program;

3. a conspicuous reference to this License and

the Internet address <>, to

be displayed in a form that can easily be read by

the recipient;

4. the complete text of this License in a form

easy to perceive.

(2) If license and/or contract terms are

displayed when the Program is installed and/or

started, the following items must also be


1. this License;

2. a reference to this License; and

3. a reference to the Entitled Person(s) to the

initial program components used under this


(3) You may not make the use of the Program

contingent upon the compliance with conditions or

obligations that are not set forth in this


(4) Provided that you have received Documentation

for the Program, you have to deliver this

Documentation with the Program, as well, unless

free delivery of the Documentation is not

permitted by the documentation license.

Section 3 Further Obligations regarding the

Distribution of Modified Versions

(1) You may only distribute modified versions of

the Program or make them publicly available in

accordance with the terms of this License, so

that any third party is able to make use of the

modified Program as a whole under this License.

(2) If the Program or a part thereof is combined

with another program, this also applies to the

entire combination as a modified version of the

Program, unless the other program is independent

in terms of form and content. Another program

shall be regarded as independent if it fulfils

the following requirements:

1. The Source Code of the combined programs must

be contained in separate files which do not

include components of the other part except for

parts containing the information customary and

required for the Program combination. The Source

Code of the other program does not have to be


2. The part which is combined with the Program

must also be reasonably usable when not combined

with the Program, i.e. on a standalone basis or

with other programs. The meaning of "reasonably

usable" will be based on the opinion of pertinent

circles of expert groups in the relevant field.

Such circles of experts include everyone who

develops, uses, distributes or makes publicly

available the Program concerned or programs with

similar functionality.

(3) If you distribute or make publicly available

the Program or parts thereof - modified or

unmodified - in combination with another program

licensed under the GNU General Public License

(GPL), the Program may also be used under

conditions of the GPL, provided it constitutes a

"derivative work" together with the other program

in the sense of the GPL. In this case, any

reference to this License should be removed and

replaced by a reference to the GPL. Whether a

"derivative work" in the sense of the GPL arises

from this combination is primarily defined in

section 2 b) of the GPL. This provision reads:

"You must cause any work that you distribute or

publish, that in whole or in part contains or is

derived from the Program or any part thereof, to

be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third

parties under the terms of this License." The GPL

can be obtained under


(4) If you distribute the Program or make it

publicly available in a modified form, you must

include a reference to the modifications and the

date of the modification in the Source Code. This

reference must reveal which modifications were

carried out and include existing references

containing information on the author of the

Program. This applies to whether or not you add

your own copyright notice. Instead of a reference

in the Source Code you may also use or carry on a

version control system, provided this is also

distributed or made publicly available.

(5) You may not charge any third party for the

granting of the non-exclusive rights of use for

the Program.

(6) If you acquire any other intellectual or

industrial property right to this Program apart

from a copyright, in particular a patent or

utility model, you license this intellectual or

industrial property right for modified or

unmodified versions of the Program to the extent

that is necessary to make due use of the rights

arising from this License.

Section 4 Further Obligations for the

Distribution of the Object Code

(1) If you distribute the Program in Object Code

form only, apart from the obligations defined in

Sections 2 and 3, you have to either:

1. make the Complete Source Code publicly

available in the Internet and - when distributing

the Object Code - make a clear reference to the

complete Internet address from which the Source

Code can be downloaded; or

2. distribute the Complete Source Code on a

customary data carrier, taking into consideration

Sections 2 and 3.

(2) If you make the Program publicly available in

Object Code form, apart from the obligations

defined in Sections 2 and 3 you must also make

the Complete Source Code publicly available in

the Internet and make a clear reference to the

complete Internet address.

(3) Provided that you have received the

Documentation for the Program, you have to

deliver this Documentation together with the

Program in accordance with Subsections 1 and 2,

as well, unless free delivery of the

Documentation is not permitted by the

documentation license.

Section 5 Conclusion of the Contract

(1) With this License you and any other person

are offered the conclusion of a contract for the

use of this Program under the conditions of this


(2) You may use the Program in accordance with

the applicable statutory provisions for the

intended purpose without having to accept this

License. In the European Union and in most other

legal systems, this right in particular includes

the following authorizations:

1. Running of the Program as well as reproducing

on hard-drive and RAM required for this;

2. Making of a back-up copy;

3. Correcting errors;

4. Distributing a lawfully acquired physical copy

of the Program.

(3) You declare your acceptance of this License

by distributing the Program, making it publicly

available, modifying or reproducing it in a way

that goes beyond the intended use in the sense of

Subsection 2. From this time on, this License

shall be deemed as a legally binding agreement

between the Entitled Persons and you, without the

need for the Entitled Persons to obtain a

declaration of acceptance.

(4) You and any other licensee acquire the rights

arising from this License directly from the

Entitled Persons. Any sub-licensing or transfer

of rights is not permitted.

Section 6 Termination of Rights in the Event of


(1) Any violation of your obligations under this

License automatically leads to the termination of

your rights under this License.

(2) Any rights of third parties having obtained

the Program or rights to the Program from you

shall remain unaffected.

Section 7 Liability and Warranty

(1) The Entitled Persons are only liable for

conflicting third-party rights if they were aware

of such rights without informing you.

(2) Liability for errors and/or other defects in

the Program shall be governed by agreements

concluded between you and the Entitled Person

beyond the scope of this License or, if no such

agreement exists, by the pertinent statutory


Section 8 Agreements with Third Parties

(1) This License only governs the relationship

between you and the Entitled Persons. It is not

part of agreements between you and third parties.

(2) This License does not limit your freedom to

conclude agreements of any content whatsoever

with third parties obtaining copies of the

Program from you or purchasing services from you

in connection with the Program, provided that you

fulfil your obligations under this License and

third-party rights under this License are not

infringed. In particular, you may charge a fee as

consideration for the transfer of the Program or

other services.

(3) This License does not commit you to forward

the Program to a third party. You are free to

decide to whom you wish to make the Program

available. However, you may not prevent or

complicate further use by third parties through

the use of technical protective measures, in

particular, the use of copy protection of any

kind. Password-protected access restriction or

use in an Intranet shall not be regarded as

technical protective measures.

Section 9 Text of the License

(1) This License is written in German and

English. Both versions are equally binding. It is

assumed that terminology used in the License has

the same meaning in both versions. Should,

however, differences arise, such meaning is

authoritative which best brings into line both

versions, taking into consideration the aim and

purpose of the License.

(2) The license board of the German Free Software

License may put into force binding new versions

of this License inasmuch as this is required and

reasonable. New versions of the License will be

published on the Internet site <http://www.d-> with a unique version number. The new

version of the License becomes binding for you as

soon as you become aware of its publication.

Legal remedies against the modification of the

License are not restricted by the regulations

described above.

(3) You may reproduce and distribute this License

and make it publicly available in an unmodified


Section 10 Applicable Law

The License is governed by German law.

Appendix: How to submit a Program to the German

Free Software License.

In order to make it possible for anyone to

conclude this License, it is recommended to

include the following reference to the License in

the Program:

"Copyright (C) 20[yy] [Name of the Entitled


This Program may be used by anyone in accordance

with the terms of the German Free Software


The License may be obtained under <http://www.d->."

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