Add-on Modules under the GPL: “Derivative Works” despite separated distribution

If your add-on modules are dynamically loaded into GPL-licensed software at runtime, you’ll have to license the add-on modules under the GPL’s terms when distributing them along with the GPL-licensed software; it is a clear-cut case of a “derivative work” under the License. The case is less clear, however, if the add-on module is distributed separately from the GPL-licensed software, as may, for example, happen where the recipient has already installed the GPL-licensed software from a different source. Continue reading

On “warranty” and “Gewährleistung”

When drafting and negotiating technology agreements of almost any sort between German companies and US or UK companies (or companies from other common law based countries), particularly on software, one of the various Groundhog moments that one experiences is the never-ending discussion on everything that is “warranty”. Continue reading

Copyright Protection for Websites Using Typo3

Every now and then the question arises in court if websites are protected under copyright law. Website technology is progressing and so time and again new aspects have to be considered by the courts. Recently, the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg ruled on a case of alleged plagiarism of a website that was based on the Open Source Content Management System “Typo 3” (OLG Hamburg, decision of February 29, 2012, ref. 5 U 10/10). Continue reading

E-Commerce Law Reports with our article on Oracle v. UsedSoft

As a blogger you are always happy to receive feedback from your readers. So I was really pleased when shortly after posting my recent comments about the CJEU’s UsedSoft decision, the E-Commerce Law Reports approached me to ask whether I could write a more detailed article about the case for their August 2012 issue. Recently published, this issue also contains a number of other fascinating contributions by colleagues from around the world on a variety of important topics such as the online collection of consumer data, search engines’ liability for misleading search results, the cloning of games, advertising on Twitter, etc. Check it out: http://www.e-comlaw.com/e-commerce-law-reports/

The ECJ surprises in Oracle v. UsedSoft

Yesterday, the European Court of Justice handed down its ruling in Oracle v. UsedSoft. The court followed largely the Advocate General’s trail (we reported), but at some – crucial – point, it took a different, rather surprising direction which will have considerable impact on the marketing of software (and maybe other copyright-protected works, too). Continue reading

Düsseldorf Court on the Use of Trade Marks for Open Source Software

For a while now, lawyers have been struggling with the relationship between (trade mark) protection of software names and Open Source licensing. Last month, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf) handed down an important decision that may shed some light on the intriguing issues linked to trademarking Open Source software. We publish this decision (the German original and an English translation) and explain what it is about. Continue reading

SAS v WPL: No Copyright Protection for Programming Languages

Hooray: On 2 May the ECJ ruled that “neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression of that program and, as such, are not protected by copyright in computer programs.” Continue reading

ECJ Advocate General on Used Software and Used Licenses

Is it legal to sell so-called “used software” when this software has been obtained via download? And what about “used licenses”? These questions have been a hot topic for quite some time now for IT businesses and lawyers – and finally they have been brought to the attention of the European Court of Justice. This week, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Mr. Yves Bot, published an opinion dealing with some of the intricate problems of the exhaustion (or “first sale”) doctrine. Continue reading

Termination of a Perpetual Software License under German Law

I have just (goes to show how much time I really have to scan the law journals for relevant stuff) stumbled upon a very interesting decision by the District Court of Cologne published in the February edition of Germany’s famed “C&R” (i.e. “Computer & Recht” = “Computer & Law”) regarding the terminability of perpetual software licenses under German law for material breaches of contract. As per the District Court of Cologne the answer is: Sure you can! Which is a bit surprising, really. Continue reading