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Institute for Legal Questions on Free and Open Source Software

What is the legal standard for liability and warranty in Germany?

Sec. 306 Para. 2 BGB [German Civil Code] states: "to the extent that the provisions are not included in the contract or are invalid, the content of the contract is governed by statutory regulations

The BGB provides different standards of liability and warranty for typical contracts.  The scope of liability and warranty strongly depends on the type of contract.

A distinction is drawn between reimbursed and non-reimbursed distribution.  For non-reimbursed distribution, the governing opinion is that regulations regarding gifts apply.  In general, regulations regarding purchasing apply to reimbursed distribution.  Gift regulations provide less stringent liability (only for willful intent and gross negligence) and restricted warranty (only for malicious concealment of a defect).

The liability and warranty standard can therefore be limited for non-reimbursed distribution in a relevant manner.
 

Note

This FAQ is based on the FAQs of the commentary “Die GPL kommentiert und erklaert” [Discussions and explanations of the GPL] published by ifrOSS at O’Reilly.
 
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