Legal Protection of Computer Programmes including FOSS

Legal Protection of Computer Programmes including FOSS

Living without computers or smartphones in our day and age seems unthinkable. Nevertheless, the underlying software is generally taken for granted. However, what seems trivial to everyday consumers is a joyful playground for lawyers, since computer software is protected by a tricky legal framework. The lecture will thus outline the International, European and German copyright framework surrounding the protection of computer programs looking at both closed source software, in particular, the sale of standard software under Directive 2009/24/EC (Usedsoft) vis á vis digital content as regulated by the Infosoc Directive 2001/29/EC and the proposed Digital Contents Directive. This will be contrasted with the Open Source Movement initiated by Richard Stallman, who lay the legal foundations for the Linux Kernel, an important component of every Android application.


Students will learn about the underlying IP Regime for Computer Software and understand that open source software is equally protected by said regime and does not form part of the public domain.