In another question I asked Tim Malone suggested that Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication might be incompatible with German law. What's the exact status of CC0 under the eyes of German law?

(I don't think that the question What are the limitations of CC0 vs Public Domain investigates this issue in enough detail, so I'm asked this question to get more detail about the legal status.)

  • I don't know enough about this to provide a proper answer, but here's a couple of links that might give some insight to anyone who is willing to explore and answer: rd-alliance.org/sites/default/files/cc0-analysis-kreuzer.pdf & cr.yp.to/publicdomain.html. It might be useful to make this question applicable to more than just Germany too.
    – Tim Malone
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 10:46
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    Possible duplicate of What are the limitations of CC0 vs Public Domain Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 10:49
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    @congusbongus I feel like that question is a completely different question, and the answer on that question would never be satisfiable on this question.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 20:35
  • I'm voting this question on the basis of what's written here only; we shouldn't have to follow links to understand what a question is about. I.e. what exactly are the shortcomings of the linked question? "Might be incompatible with German law": how? Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 1:35
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    The ideal answer to this question should provide a clear, concise explanation, that cites both federal legislation and statutes. Providing an answer for German law will also undoubtedly be easier, as it follows a civil law tradition.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I cannot answer to the status with respect to German laws but there a few interesting precedents and commentaries that would let me think this may be a perfectly OK license for Germany (and this in contrast with a bare PD dedication which may be problematic in Germany as far as I have heard).

  1. The German Wikipedia uses CC0 to dedicate data into the public domain
  2. The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB), the German National Library, announced in 2012 they were using the CC0 for Bibliographic data.
  3. Dr. Till Kreutzer, a German lawyer published this paper on the CC0 where he examines if the CC0 would be valid under German laws for bibliographic metadata, likely in the context of the above or a similar one. It provides an extensive analysis. This is a dense document. Here is one of his conclusion's last statement: Against this background the CC0 is under German law an effective means to release bibliographic metadata into the commons and to allow for their maximum usability by the general public.

In light of these and given the fact that both Wikipedia and a German Federal Agency considers it OK for them, I would think that it may be a valid license in Germany.

  • You say that the license is used, but you don't make a single note of it's legal status.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 14:30
  • Given I made some research on the topic, and that there was no elements of answer at all and that this used by German federal government agencies, I find you down-voting this harsh Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 17:24
  • @PhilippeOmbredanne There is no downvote on this answer.. (nor has there been)
    – Tim Malone
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 20:41
  • @TimMalone I down voted the answer before, than retracted it in light of the comment. Although the answer isn't exactly what I hope for (and I feel it should be more of a comment, since it only provides examples, and not a clear answering statement), the comment of the answerer does have merit. Also, the timeline only provides a daily report, and isn't always accurate :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 21:53

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