Thomas Roessler roessler at guug.de
Thu Dec 10 09:43:10 CET 1998

On Thu, Dec 10, 1998 at 08:44:08AM +0100, Fabio Coatti wrote:

> I've just read about the "Wassenaar Arrangement". I've no words
> about this. Is already in force (I don't know the english term, I
> mean: is arleady active?)

			    DON'T PANIC.

The Wassenaar Arrangement is _not_ binding legislation (at least) in
Germany currently.  It merely lists goods which are to be export
_controlled_.  If this _control_ really means a _restriction_ is
mostly left to national implementation. Implementation in Germany
will most probably be rather liberal for crypto software and

I've been told by officials from the German Federal Ministry for
Economics that Public Domain software is _not_ covered by the
changes to the Wassenaar Arrangement.  This means that the
Arrangement _does_ _not_ mandate export controls or restrictions for
Public Domain software.

The term Public Domain is used very broadly in the context of the
Arrangement.  It's defined as follows (from the _old_ text,
available from http://jya.com/):

   "In the public domain" (GTN, GSN)

     This means "technology" or "software" which has been made
     available without restrictions upon its further dissemination.

     N.B. Copyright restrictions do not remove "technology" or
     "software" from being "in the public domain".

The Ministry for Economics claims that this definition has _not_
been sharpened or modified.

Those of you who speak German may wish to check out yesterday's
press release from the Ministry.  It's available on the web under
http://www.bmwi.de/presse/1998/1208prm2.html, and it confirms that
"Public Domain" is _not_ covered by the Arrangment.

Thomas Roessler · 74a353cc0b19 · dg1ktr · http://home.pages.de/~roessler/
     2048/CE6AC6C1 · 4E 04 F0 BC 72 FF 14 23 44 85 D1 A1 3B B0 73 C1

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