Free access to the Federal Law Gazette
The Federal Law Gazettes are the central documents of German democracy. At OffeneGesetze.de they are now freely accessible for the first time. On our new portal we make the documents available free of charge and for free further use.
So far, Federal Law Gazettes are only available via the website bgbl.de of the Bundesanzeiger Verlag. The private publishing house requires subscription fees for basic functions, for example the searchability or printing of law gazettes. The publisher prohibits further use of the documents with reference to copyright.
Copyright law must not stand in the way of democracy. State data and documents must be freely accessible to all. If the Ministry of Justice does not ensure this, civil society must step in.
The formerly state-owned Bundesanzeiger Verlag was privatised in 2006. In a controversial procedure the Dumont publishing house secured the company. The Ministry of Justice keeps the exact terms of the federal government’s cooperation with the publisher secret. In addition to distributing the Federal Law Gazette, the publisher was also commissioned to operate other government platforms, such as the Transparency Register, without a call for tenders.
The functions of OffeneGesetze.de, such as the complete download of all federal law gazettes since 1949, make it possible for the first time to analyse the text of the law gazettes and trace changes in laws of recent decades. In addition, individual documents can be linked and searched in a different way than before.