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Digital Peer Publishing Licence (v2, en)

HTML Version der Digital Peer Publishing Lizenz (Version 2, Englisch)

Version 2.0 - June 2004

Copyright © 2004 Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (Ministry of Science and Research, State of North-Rhine Westphalia)

Developed and created by Axel Metzger and Till Jaeger, Institut für Rechtsfragen der Freien und Open Source Software (Institute for Legal Issues on Free and Open Source Software),


The Internet has caused profound changes in the conditions of academic activities. Vast numbers of documents are available via publicly accessible websites. Traditional academic and scientific media such as academic journals and publications in book form are being complemented or even replaced by electronic versions. At the same time, researchers and scientists pass on their sources of all kinds by means of individual communication in data networks. This process is expressly supported by the leading German research organisations in the Berlin Declaration (

The new communication possibilities allow academic content to be disseminated in a decentralised manner - in a fast, transparent way, closely related to research. Scientific researchers are regularly interested in making their findings widely available at a high level of quality. It goes without saying that the individual's work is respected, and recognised and secured for example by citing the author. The aim of this Digital Peer Publishing Licence is to ensure that this process takes place in a fair, transparent and secure way for all those involved.

This Digital Peer Publishing Licence provides the contractual basis for publishing documents in e-journals as described above. The licence allows any user to pass the document on in electronic form, e.g. to make it publicly available in networks.

Passing documents on is, however, subject to certain obligations, particularly concerning citing the names of authors and holders of rights and the bibliographical information used, in order to guarantee a standard form of citation. The licence does not grant a right to use altered versions of the work.

The rights to Use in physical form, particularly the rights to distribute the work in printed form or on storage media, are retained by the author or other rights holders and are not covered by this licence. This firstly promotes electronic publishing, and secondly allows the rights holder the possibility of granting the rights of physical distribution of issues of the work to an individual party, for example a commercial publishing company. Those who wish to publish their work in parallel under this licence and via a publishing company should ensure that they either publish the work initially under this licence before signing a publishing contract - in this case, the publisher purchases rights limited accordingly - or ensure that the publishing agreement does not assign the exclusive rights of providing public access to the publishing company, but rather simple, non-exclusive, rights at most.

The terms of this licence are an offer to any party to conclude a license agreement upon the conditions contained therein. The agreement comes into force by the act of the user making use of the rights specified in this license agreement.

Potential licensors are either publishers of e-journals, if they hold the exclusive usage rights to the articles, or the authors themselves, in case they own all title to their articles. The license agreement is equally suited to both these cases.

Clause 1: Definitions

§ 1: Definitions

The following terms shall be used in the license agreement with the following standard meanings:

(a) "Digital Signature": Data in electronic form which are attached or logically linked to the Work and have the purpose of authenticating the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use.

(b) "History": Information on the Work, particularly on the authors, the history of its creation or the version of the Work, which is directly inserted into the Work or attached to it in a separate file for the purpose of informing the user. The History may also contain information concerning where the author makes updated versions of the Work available or listing subsequent corrections to the content.

(c) "Licensor": The holder of the copyright and his or her legal successor, or the holder of an exclusive right to Use for the Work, who offers to conclude this license agreement.

(d) "Metadata": Machine-readable, structured information on the Work, which is contained in the Work for the purpose of simplified machine-locatability of the Work and/or efficient administration of data (e.g. "HTML metatags").

(e) "Metadata Model": A standardised structure for collecting Metadata with defined elements for describing resources (e.g. "Dublin Core Metadata Element Set").

(f) "Use": Any use of the Work for which the permission of the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use is necessary under copyright law, e.g. passing on the Work or making it available for downloading.

(g) "Open File Format": A document format which is written in a standard freely accessible to any party and which may be implemented in a computer program by any party, without limitations and free of licence fees.

(h) "You": The licensee - any party concluding this license agreement.

(i) "Altered Version": Any version of the Work in which You or a third party have made changes, regardless of whether the changes themselves reach the level of copyright protectability or not. Cases in which the law permits publication and passing on without consent ("fair use") are excepted.

(j) "Physical Copy": Any physical copy, reproduction or piece of the Work, i.e. the Work in its embodied form (e.g. as a printed book or on CD-ROM).

(k) "Work": The work protected by copyright, to which the rights to Use are granted by this license agreement.

Clause 2: Rights to Use

§ 2: Granting of Rights to Use

(1) Rights to Use the Work shall be granted by this license agreement free of any licence fees.

(2) This license agreement shall, unrestricted by time and place allow You to reproduce the Work in electronic form, to pass the Work on to third parties by electronic means and - particularly by making it available for download - to make it publicly accessible.

(3) This license agreement shall further entitle You to incorporate the Work in electronic databases or other collections. Should You attain Your own rights to databases or collective works, You may not use these to restrict or prevent further Use of the Work.

(4) This license agreement has the intention of strengthening the provision of information in the Internet. For this reason, Use in physical form, particularly the distribution of printed Works, and the Use of Altered Versions of the Work shall not be permitted.

(5) This license agreement shall entitle You to make the Work accessible to third parties. You may not, however, grant third parties rights to Use for the Work.

Clause 3: Terms of Use

§ 3: No Obligation to Use and to Pass on Free of Charge

(1) This license agreement shall constitute no obligation to Use on Your part. You may decide whether and to whom You pass on the Work or to whom You make it available by electronic means. You may therefore also make the Work available in internal networks (Intranet) or simply forward it to individuals by electronic means ipso iure.

(2) This license agreement does not oblige You to Use the Work free of charge. You may agree on the payment of a fee with the user as consideration for the access to the Work or for the procurement of a Physical Copy via electronic forwarding in a data network. However, You may not make the further Use by the acquirer contingent upon further payments, since the acquirer does not receive the necessary rights to Use from You but from the Licensor.

§ 4: Open Access

(1) In case You Use the Work, You may not prevent or impede the further Use by third parties by means of technical protective measures, particularly through the Use of copy protection measures of any kind. A password-protected access restriction or Use within an Intranet structure shall not be regarded as a technical protective measure.

(2) In case You have received the document in an Open File Format, You may not Use it in a non-open file format without the prior express consent of the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use. Consent shall be granted in the event that improved access to the Work may be expected due to a high circulation level of the file format, and that the file format is suitable for the presentation of the Work.

§ 5: Citation of Names of Authors and Holders of Rights to Use

(1) In case You Use the Work, You shall cite the names of authors - e.g. author or copyright references - in the same form as it has been included in the document. This shall also apply to citing the holder of an exclusive right to Use, in case these are cited in connection with the Work.

(2) In case the Work is integrated into a more extensive collected edition, such as a collective Work or database, You are obliged to ensure the citation of the authors and holders of an exclusive right to Use in a suitable and standard form for the type to Use.

(3) You may not alter or remove any Digital Signatures which the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use has added to the Work and which confirm the authenticity or origin of the Work, except when this is necessary to convert the Work into another file format permitted in accordance with § 4.2.

§ 6: Quotation and Metadata

(1) In order to guarantee a standardised quotation form of the Work and lasting locatability of the document for any party despite the possible decentralised electronic use, You may neither alter nor remove bibliographical information regarding the original location where the document was found, when using the Work. However, You may add additional bibliographical information.

(2) You may not remove Metadata that the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use has added to the Work, except when this is necessary to convert the Work into an Open File Format.

(3) Metadata which the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use has added to the Work may be adapted to other Metadata Models, in case this serve the purpose of simplified locatability of the document or the standardisation of Metadata structures.

§ 7: Concurrent Provision of Further Information

(1) In case You exercise the rights to Use granted by this license agreement, You shall always include the text of this licence in the German and the English language accompanying the Work, or to quote a source under which both versions of this licence may be permanently be retrieved by electronic means in the usual way, preferably by download from the Internet, for example from the site

(2) You may neither alter nor remove references to this licence which the author or holder of an exclusive right to Use has added to the Work.

(3) In case a History is included into the Work, You may only pass the Work on along with the complete and unaltered History.

Clause 4: Conclusion and Termination of this Agreement; Reservation of Your Statutory Rights

§ 8: Conclusion

The text of this licence constitutes an offer made to You, intended for the conclusion of a license agreement under the terms and conditions specified in this license agreement. You do accept the offer by exercising the rights listed in § 2 of the agreement. Notice of acceptance must not be sent to the Licensor.

§ 9: Devolution of Rights to Use

(1) In case You violate the obligations set forth in §§ 2.3 Phrase 2 and 3 thru 8 of this agreement, the rights to Use granted to You by the Licensor under this agreement shall automatically become invalid. You may then no longer Use the Work.

(2) The rights of beneficial Use of third parties who have attained the Work from You shall not be affected by a devolution of the rights to Use.

§ 10: Reservation of Your Statutory Rights

The subject-matter of this licence shall be exclusively the granting of rights to Use in order to make the Work available to the public or to individuals in electronic form. Such beneficial rights to Use the Work resulting from the statutory restrictions of copyright, for example reproduction for private Use, quotation rights, etc., shall not fall under the scope of this licence. It is not necessary to conclude this license agreement in order to make legal Use of such rights.

Clause 5: Liability and Warranty

§ 11: Liability and Warranty

The Licensor's liability towards You is limited to fraudulent concealment of defects.

§ 12 Liability in the Event of Third Party Claims

In case claims for damages and/or litigation costs are asserted against the parties of this agreement, either individually or jointly, by third parties on the basis of the content of the Work, each party shall be proportionally liable corresponding to the ratio of its own fault. The licensee shall bear sole liability if the Licensor has included into the Work a source where subsequent corrections are listed, and if the content comprising the subject-matter of the asserted third-party claim has already been corrected or deleted in this source at the time of the infringing act.

Clause 6: The License Agreement

§ 13 Relationship of the Two Versions

(1) This license agreement has been drawn up in German and English. Both versions shall be equally binding. It shall be assumed that the terms used in the license agreement have the same meaning in both versions. Should differences or uncertainties arise, however, such meaning shall prevail which best aligns the versions with each other, under consideration of the objective and purpose of the license agreement.

(2) The Ministry of Science and Research of North-Rhine Westphalia (or its legal successor) may bring new versions of the license agreement into force with binding effect in case this is necessary and appropriate. New versions of the license agreement shall be made available in the Internet at an express version number. The new version of the license agreement shall come into binding effect for You at the time when You become aware of its publication. Statutory redress against the alteration of the license agreement shall not restricted by the above stipulations.

(3) You may reproduce and distribute this license agreement and make it publicly available in unaltered form.

§ 14 Applicable Law

This license agreement shall be governed by German law.


In order to enable any party to conclude this license agreement, it is recommended that You provide the Work with the following reference to the license agreement:

"Any party may pass on this Work by electronic means and make it available for download under the terms and conditions of the Digital Peer Publishing Licence (DPPL) [please quote the version number here, in the event You require license under a specific version of the license agreement]. The text of the licence may be accessed and retrieved via Internet at"

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