3

In the process of including a library's code to my private commercial use, I noticed that the repository's LICENSE was not properly applied.

I cannot find this (filled out) boilerplate notice on any of the repository's files (example):

Copyright [yyyy] [name of copyright owner]

I'm unsure about what exactly I should do. Is this still legally considered as a valid license? The Apache 2.0 license appendix does mention (emphasis mine):

To apply the Apache License to your work, attach the following boilerplate notice, with the fields enclosed by brackets "[]" replaced with your own identifying information. (Don't include the brackets!)

This answer seems to completely disregard that statement of the appendix however, which confuses me a bit.

Also, in any case, what are the implications of any future changes made to that license's appendix (i.e. removing it) by the original maintainer?

2 Answers 2

7

The appendix is a set of instructions. It is intended to describe the recommended best practice for licensing your own code under the Apache License. It is not part of the license itself. Failing to follow those instructions does not necessarily invalidate the license, but it may create legal uncertainty depending on the specific fact pattern.

Pragmatically, this is a matter of how much legal risk you (the consumer/user) are willing to take on. When you use someone else's code without a valid license, you infringe their copyright, and they can sue you for damages. A license eliminates this risk by giving you permission to use the code. From the perspective of risk mitigation, there are three basic questions you need to ask:

  1. How likely is it that the rightsholder will sue me?
  2. How likely is it that they will be able to convince a judge that the license is invalid?
  3. How expensive is a lawsuit likely to be?

You will need to evaluate these things on your own, because nobody else knows your exact business situation and risk tolerance, but in general, risk is lower in cases where you have an explicit statement, (presumably) written by the rightsholder, claiming that the license applies (which is the case here, see the README: "Licensed under the terms of the Apache License, Version 2.0."). When you have such a statement, it is weak evidence that the rightsholder is not interested in suing you, and more importantly, it is strong evidence that the rightsholder actually intended to give you a license, that the license is valid because of that intent, and if the license is somehow invalid, that you may nevertheless have equitable defenses such as estoppel and/or innocent infringement.

In cases where the rightsholder merely dumps the text of a license into a file called LICENSE or COPYING, with no licensing statement in the README or the comments of individual files, there is less evidence of intent, and so the risk is mildly higher. However, judges generally don't like this sort of trickery, and overall risk is still not that high in my subjective opinion.

More risky is the case where there are multiple licenses in the same repository, and no clear statement of which license applies to which file(s). If you get sued, your lawyer will likely argue that the entire repository was multi-licensed, and that you could choose which license to follow, but it's less clear to me how a court would rule in that case. A judge might rule that the conflicting licenses are insufficiently clear to establish intent.

Finally, if there is no license at all, then by default, no permissions are granted.

-3

Open Source Announcement

Some software components of this product incorporate source code include the following Open Source License(s). Apache License Version 2.0 BSD 2.0 unRAR License

                    Apache License
             Version 2.0, January 2004 
            http://www.apache.org/licenses/

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR USE, REPRODUCTION, AND DISTRIBUTION

  1. Definitions.

    "License" shall mean the terms and conditions for use, reproduction, and distribution as defined by Sections 1 through 9 of this document.

    "Licensor" shall mean the copyright owner or entity authorized by the copyright owner that is granting the License.

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    "You" (or "Your") shall mean an individual or Legal Entity exercising permissions granted by this License.

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    "Work" shall mean the work of authorship, whether in Source or Object form, made available under the License, as indicated by a copyright notice that is included in or attached to the work (an example is provided in the Appendix below).

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    "Contribution" shall mean any work of authorship, including the original version of the Work and any modifications or additions to that Work or Derivative Works thereof, that is intentionally submitted to Licensor for inclusion in the Work by the copyright owner or by an individual or Legal Entity authorized to submit on behalf of the copyright owner. For the purposes of this definition, "submitted" means any form of electronic, verbal, or written communication sent to the Licensor or its representatives, including but not limited to communication on electronic mailing lists, source code control systems, and issue tracking systems that are managed by, or on behalf of, the Licensor for the purpose of discussing and improving the Work, but excluding communication that is conspicuously marked or otherwise designated in writing by the copyright owner as "Not a Contribution."

    "Contributor" shall mean Licensor and any individual or Legal Entity on behalf of whom a Contribution has been received by Licensor and subsequently incorporated within the Work.

  2. Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form.

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  9. Accepting Warranty or Additional Liability. While redistributing the Work or Derivative Works thereof, You may choose to offer, and charge a fee for, acceptance of support, warranty, indemnity, or other liability obligations and/or rights consistent with this License. However, in accepting such obligations, You may act only on Your own behalf and on Your sole responsibility, not on behalf of any other Contributor, and only if You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold each Contributor harmless for any liability incurred by, or claims asserted against, such Contributor by reason of your accepting any such warranty or additional liability.

END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

APPENDIX: How to apply the Apache License to your work.

To apply the Apache License to your work, attach the following boilerplate notice, with the fields enclosed by brackets "[]" replaced with your own identifying information. (Don't include the brackets!) The text should be enclosed in the appropriate comment syntax for the file format. We also recommend that a file or class name and description of purpose be included on the same "printed page" as the copyright notice for easier ##

-


identification within third-party archives.

Copyright Travis Peters Travis Peters strong text

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

BSD 2.0 - gradle - samsung.android.static:secinterpolator:1.+

Copyright (c) 2001 Robert Penner All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

Neither the name of the author nor the names of contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

The UnRAR sources may be used in any software to handle RAR archives without limitations free of charge, but cannot be used to re-create the RAR compression algorithm, which is proprietary. Distribution of modified unRAR sources in separate form or as a part of other software is permitted, provided that it is clearly stated in the documentation and source comments that the code may not be used to develop a RAR (WinRAR) compatible archiver.

Original UnRAR licence:

****** ***** ****** UnRAR - free utility for RAR archives ** ** ** ** ** ** ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ****** ******* ****** License for use and distribution of ** ** ** ** ** ** ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ** ** ** ** ** ** FREE portable version


The source code of UnRAR utility is freeware. This means:

1. All copyrights to RAR and the utility UnRAR are exclusively
owned by the author - Alexander Roshal.

2. The UnRAR sources may be used in any software to handle RAR
archives without limitations free of charge, but cannot be used
to re-create the RAR compression algorithm, which is proprietary.
Distribution of modified UnRAR sources in separate form or as a
part of other software is permitted, provided that it is clearly
stated in the documentation and source comments that the code may
not be used to develop a RAR (WinRAR) compatible archiver.

3. The UnRAR utility may be freely distributed. It is allowed
to distribute UnRAR inside of other software packages.

4. THE RAR ARCHIVER AND THE UnRAR UTILITY ARE DISTRIBUTED "AS IS".
NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND IS EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.  YOU USE AT
YOUR OWN RISK. THE AUTHOR WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR DATA LOSS,
DAMAGES, LOSS OF PROFITS OR ANY OTHER KIND OF LOSS WHILE USING
OR MISUSING THIS SOFTWARE.

5. Installing and using the UnRAR utility signifies acceptance of
these terms and conditions of the license.

6. If you don't agree with terms of the license you must remove
UnRAR files from your storage devices and cease to use the
utility.

Thank you for your interest in RAR and UnRAR.


Alexander L. Roshal



- Network Storage Manager
Copyright 2017, Rapid7, Inc.

License: BSD-3-clause

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice,
  this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

  * Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
  notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
  documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

  * Neither the name of the copyright holder nor the names of its contributors
  may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software
  without specific prior written permission.
1
  • 3
    This appears to be verbatim reproduction of some license text without highlighting which parts, if any, pertain to the question being asked.
    – apsillers
    Jul 4, 2022 at 3:18

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