The German Corona Warn App, a Legally Defective Product?

By all measures, the German Corona Warn app is already a highly successful software product. However, from the perspective of open source license compliance, it is defective. Using open source code in your product requires that you fulfill the obligations of the open source licenses of that code, and the Corona Warn app does not do that. Let me explain.

Open source code may be free to use, but it comes with strings attached, which are its licenses. An open source license spells out (1) permissions (you are allowed to use the code for free, among other things), (2) obligations to fulfill to receive the permissions (like giving credit to the original authors), and (3) prohibitions (for example, you are not allowed to claim endorsement of your work by the original open source programmers).

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Open Source License Compliance and Work-for-Hire

A common question that I am asked in my seminar on license-compliant delivery of products that contain open source software is:

But what about a work-for-hire? We are a consulting company: As we work for our clients, and use open source software, do we have to create all those legal notices?

The answer, as so often is: It depends. With that, let’s tease the different situations apart.

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Public Seminars on License-Compliant Delivery of Products that Contain Open Source Software in Q1 of 2020

In the first quarter of 2020, there are several options for participating in our seminar on license-compliant delivery of products that contain open source software. Here is an overview (subject to change, mostly, additions) of public seminars.

2020-03-06BerlinGermanMorrison Foerster

For more information and registration, please see our LCD seminar page. For seminars at FAU, please see our continuing education page.

The seminar is provided through Bayave GmbH, my consulting and training company. If you would like to book a firm-internal seminar, please get in touch directly.