Several discussions have supported the subject of a software license and the majority are limited to offer explanations or definitions (GNU GPL, EULA, BSD License ... etc) without addressing the practical steps to set up a license for software.

In parallel to the many types of licenses (GNU GPL, EULA, BSD License ... etc), there are also many organizations like FSF (Free Software Foundation) and OSI (Open Source Initiative) and Copyright.

Normally the software must be legally declared in legal body like FSF or OSI to guarantee the copyrights and the fact of putting a copyright text for license with the source code does not normally complete the licensing process.

Questions:

1 In the case of Opensource, if we put the code in public, the fact of putting a text accompanying the publication of the project does not legally guarantee the authors' rights since it is possible to modify the code and put a new license for example. What should author do to protect legally their work and what is the legal approach and the organization that must be contacted to accomplish the license and software patents and where should the project be dropped to be secured ?.

2 What is the role of the FSF, OSI, or Copyright if we only limit to put a license text in the Software as for the case of github, we note that it is not enough in practice to limit to the addition of a license file generated by guithub and must concetise the legal approach in reality, so how to apply the license in reality, should us contact OSI or FSF by depositing the source code at them?

3 If we assume that an open source project has been put online, how are the project authors guaranteed their rights, since it is possible to take the code and assigned to other owner and the author loses its intellectual properties ?

4 How to apply the license of apache or MIT for example, all the articles which are carried out around this license are limited to recite the definition and its contents without speaking about the way to apply it. In the reality, must one contact FSF or OSI or Copyright office to translate the formal text of the license into reality ?.

closed as too broad by curiousdannii, MadHatter, Mureinik, apsillers Oct 22 at 12:02

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    There are too many questions. For example question 3 asks about possible license violations, and that is addressed here and elsewhere: What can/should I do when I see a violation to GPL restrictions? – Brandin Oct 22 at 3:50
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    Based on the level of detail you have for each one of these questions, it's clear to me that each question should be its own post. You will get the best answers if you ask your questions one at a time, and carefully explain what you want to know (and what you assume or suspect to be true) in detail. These questions look like their each on topic for the site, but one paragraph per question here simply isn't enough detail for the complexity of the questions you're asking. – apsillers Oct 22 at 12:06
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    Also by asking your questions one at a time, you'll get the best answers: right now, you can only get an answer from people who are willing to answer all of your questions at once. If you ask them separately, you can get answers from anyone willing to answer any one of your questions, which means you'll get more answers from more people: a much better outcome for you. – apsillers Oct 22 at 12:08
  • In most countries, all published works are copyright: No need to do anything. A Free Software licence typicaly goes like this. This work is copyright, so keep off. Here is a licence, you don't have to accept it. If you do then you can do all of this …, if not then get lost, as it is copyright. (this strategy makes these licences enforceable, maybe the only enforceable software licences. Because you get to choose. If you choose to reject the licence, then you are worse off, in nearly every case, and never better off. ) – ctrl-alt-delor Oct 24 at 16:19

Putting a copyright text for license with the source code does not normally complete the licensing process

According to the GPL, it does:

If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.

To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively state the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the “copyright” line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

[...]

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

That's it. Nothing about registration with the FSF, the OSI, or any external body.

If you will forgive me, your question seems constructed around a misapprehension: that publishing your code with merely a copyright statement and a clear licence declaration is somehow insufficient or lacking, and that registration with some external body is required to make your copyrights enforceable. That is, generally, not so, which is a direct consequence of just about every country signing the Berne Convention.

Nevertheless, you raise some specific questions, so let me take them individually.

1 In the case of Opensource, if we put the code in public, the fact of putting a text accompanying the publication of the project does not legally guarantee the authors' rights since it is possible to modify the code and put a new license

It depends on the licence. The GNU GPL, for example, forbids exactly that (GPLv2 s2b, GPLv3 s5b); anyone who takes a GPLed work, modifies it (including, but not limited to, replacing the licence) and distributes it is committing a copyright violation and the rights holder in the original work has standing to sue.

Non-copyleft free licences such as BSD, MIT, and Apache do not prohibit this. Opinion is divided as to whether you can take such a work and republish it under a different free licence, but in practice it's very possible (and completely lawful) to take such a work and republish it under a proprietary licence. If you don't want that, use a copyleft licence like the GNU GPL.

should us contact OSI or FSF by depositing the source code at them

No. They don't act as repositories in the way you think they do, because they don't need to (and they have better things to do).

If we assume that an open source project has been put online, how are the project authors guaranteed their rights, since it is possible to take the code and assigned to other owner and the author loses its intellectual properties

The courts guarantee their rights, in the limiting case. In practice, there are all sorts of halfway houses involving cease-and-desist letters or organisations like the SFC. But at the end of the day, the same social mechanisms that stop someone taking your car without your permission should prevent someone taking your code without your permission.

must one contact FSF or OSI or Copyright office to translate the formal text of the license into reality

No. As the GPL says, it suffices to put a copyright statement and a licence declaration. Arguably you can get by with even less, but you definitely don't need more.

There are some US-specific wrinkles such as registration with their Copyright Office, but these are not requirements for an enforceable copyright. They are hangovers from the days when the US really didn't like the Berne Convention, and they allow extra legal weight to be brought to bear on offenders; but they are not a requirement for copyright protection, and they only apply in the US.

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