The functionality of Darktable is very good so I thought I would switch from Lightroom to Darktable. Can I download it in Germany or any other European countries which have strict legal standards for downloading software?

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    Why would it be illegal to download any regular software?.... It's not like Darktable is hacking software or anything with malicious intent – timvrhn May 23 '19 at 10:58
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a legal question about any piece of software and not specific to photography in any way. – Philip Kendall May 23 '19 at 11:09
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    @Ryka This would rather be a question for law.se. because it's about downloading and not about editing – Alexander von Wernherr May 23 '19 at 11:18
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    "there is no lawyer who studies on software issues" There are many. To take the possibly the most obvious example, Software Freedom Law Center. – Philip Kendall May 23 '19 at 11:51
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    @Ryka To know the unknown things is exactly the reason it is desirable to do some research before posting a question here. I am glad you found our community and hope it will be helpful for you when you use Darktable. Please visit the tour and help section to learn more about using this site. – Saaru Lindestøkke May 23 '19 at 15:39

Darktable is free software and it is perfectly legal to download it in entire EU. About download in Germany - download the software from official web site or from official mirror site.

About Lightroom - it is legal again if you download it from Adobe web site. And its legal to use it on the time of trial period.

Do not use p2p/torrent to download LR software!

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    Why shouldn't I download Debian, which includes Darktable, via BitTorrent? (Yes, I know I'm being slightly pedantic here) – Philip Kendall May 23 '19 at 15:14
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    Errrr....and why would they do that? There is nothing, I repeat, nothing in European or German law that prohibits you from using BitTorrent. It is, however, illegal to download pirated software - no matter whether you use P2P or not. If your P2P software uploads pirated software (which you downloaded before) while you download darktable with it, you may get fined - for uploading, not for downloading. – flolilo May 23 '19 at 20:12
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    @RomeoNinov I do. You can't be fined for just "using bittorrent". – Chris H May 24 '19 at 8:35
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    @RomeoNinov if you think anybody in Germany gets fines for using torrent software without specific evidence that they were using it to up- or download things in violation of the relevant copyright/licensing, then your info isn't nearly as good as you think it is. There is no legal risk involved in using torrent or other p2p software to acquire software released under GPL. – Chris H May 24 '19 at 8:41
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    This is blatantly false information Romeo. Yes, you can get fined for using P2P. This will ALWAYS be because of the contents of what you are downloading, and thus you may as well have downloaded the regular way. Such examples include illicitly acquired media, say movies. Fines will list exactly what has been downloaded. Using P2P is completely legal and is used in other, legal, instances instead of just downloading pirated files. You will never "accidentally" receive a fine for downloading. – timvrhn May 24 '19 at 10:16

"darktable is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License Version 3 or later." -https://www.darktable.org/about/

It is free software, unlike Lightroom. As a point of clarification, it is not illegal to download Lightroom either, as long as you have paid for it. If I'm reading between the lines of your question correctly, you are asking if downloading darktable is breaking intellectual property laws. (As downloading Lightroom without paying for it would be) The short answer: No.


Usually, if the official web site of any software has download links, it is legal to download. This includes proprietary software (eg, updates and trials) as long as you abide by the terms of the license.

There have been exceptions in the past. So if you have any concerns, you should contact the developers directly.

  • It would still be legal to download it from any other side. What could be illegal is to host it without permission of the authors, but never downloading it in good faith (because how would you know?). That is...as long as it is not clear that the software you downloaded was pirated (i.e. manipulated to allow the circumvention of licensing). But of course, if you really are paranoid about this, contacting the developers is the best idea. – flolilo May 24 '19 at 11:13
  • There is software that uses GPL components, but don't abide by the terms (by releasing source code). Such software is illegal, despite developers making the binaries available. There are other scenarios, but they usually don't affect end users directly. As far as I know, none applies to DarkTable. – xiota May 24 '19 at 12:03

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