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I'm developing a piece of software that will be available under AGPL license. It is a webpage intended to be used by different fandoms to track interviews with their favorite author/creator.

I'm quite certain that the content handled by the software (pictures from meetings, recorded interviews etc.) is not "infected" by the websites AGPL license and different copyrights apply to them.

However, I'd like to know, if someone wants to use a background image on this webpage, let's say a painting he or she made, would this image become AGPL licensed too? If so, is there a way to prevent it?

Would giving the webpage administrator a way to upload images to be used as backgrounds create enough separation from the software, that the license wouldn't cover those backgrounds?

I guess what I want to ask, is how to define a safe border to stop AGPL propagation over pieces of a website?

  • Please ban "infected" from you rvocabulary: FLOSS software is a no virus :P – Philippe Ombredanne Apr 19 '17 at 14:23
  • Haha sure, I didn't mean it in a bad way :) After all I chose AGPL from my free will ;) – Maciek Apr 19 '17 at 15:22
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If someone changed the background image on the webpage, it would be pretty likely that a court would consider this to be separate enough from the AGPL software so that the background image is not concerned by the license. But where is the frontier then? What if I start tweaking other bits of CSS? In the end, this shows that this is a blurry issue (where does "making a derivative work" start?).

The solution that you are proposing is indeed the best one. As soon as you can make it clear that the background image is to be considered as data, it won't (for sure) be affected by the license of the software.

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