Questions tagged [law]

For questions about the legal aspects of open source. Questions asking for legal advice are off-topic. You should consider mentioning the relevant legal jurisdiction in your question.

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Is treeware GPL compatible?

I recently noticed that some projects on GitHub are "Treeware". For example https://github.com/APIDevTools/swagger-methods (originally MIT license). The README says: This package is ...
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1 vote
0 answers
38 views

FFmpeg & AAC licenses & patents

I checked every AAC- and FFmpeg-related question on the entire StackExchange and it's not yet clear to me. In my project, I provide some audio-only content, encoded in AAC, to the end users. Some ...
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6 votes
1 answer
125 views

Is it legal to "simulate" Yubikey OTP authentication with an Arduino in own product?

I found the following Github Repo that makes it possible to build your own Yubikey with an Arduino Leonardo device. https://github.com/pagong/arduino-yksim Pretty cool. However I am wondering if using ...
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17 votes
4 answers
3k views

Legal wording to exempt bug fixes to open-source framework from NDA?

Attempting to hire contractors to develop code using open-source framework with Apache 2.0 license. In reviewing our legal contract, the contractors are hesitant to sign because they want to donate ...
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9 votes
1 answer
977 views

How do I deal with authorship after a fork?

I've forked the protpy package into propy3 in order to make it usable for Python 3 users. I'm not a user of that package myself and have no clue of protein computations. However, in order to make it ...
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1 vote
0 answers
31 views

License for donating software to not for profit - non exclusive [closed]

I am doing some voluntary programming work for a not for profit - and it will be far faster if I re-use several thousand lines of boilerplate code I have previously written for commercial projects ...
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3 votes
1 answer
153 views

Is CC-BY-SA 3.0 compatible with Apache 2.0?

Creative Commons explicitly states that GPL3 is compatible with CC-BY-SA 3.0. However, there is no information on its compatibility with Apache 2.0. Currently, I am hosting Apache licensed content on ...
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2 votes
0 answers
66 views

Java Licensing Question

I have questions about Java licensing Well, after many court hearings with Oracle vs Google, I analyzed this topic again and I would like to ask you about a few things: Oracle was accusing Google of ...
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6 votes
2 answers
210 views

Does contributing to software project make it joint authorship or a collective work?

From the legal point of view there are two types of work done by multiple authors: Joint authorship - when the authors create inseparable work, and the contributions of the authors are interdependent....
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0 votes
1 answer
333 views

Is using SheetJS free for commercial use?

I downloaded a version of SheetJS here https://unpkg.com/xlsx@0.17.4/dist/xlsx.full.min.js It's basically a version of xlsx that allows me to export an excel document and allows me to manipulate data ...
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3 votes
1 answer
58 views

Arduino GitHub project - what is the scope of copyright attribution and how to include it?

I'm trying to upload my project to GitHub and have questions regarding license/credit attribution. My project is an Arduino (specifically NodeMCU ESP8266) project, which mainly includes two external ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What happens if one developer makes code developed by several people open source?

If two people work on code together, what is to stop one of them from making it open source? Is the sole impediment the risk of legal action by the other?
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3 votes
1 answer
119 views

Licensing a library under the MPL

The Mozilla Public License 2.0 is a license that specifically allows you to include source code licensed under it, in any program without restrictions, provided users are given a copy of the MPL-...
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0 votes
1 answer
95 views

When cloning a Apache project from github and that project contains a NOTICE text file - what shall I do?

In the case I want to clone a project from github that has the Apache License and that contains a NOTICE text file, what shall I do? The Apache License does contain a paragraph on what to do, but to ...
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0 votes
0 answers
88 views

GPL v3 "Or Later Version" Clause -or- Counterfeiting the GPL [duplicate]

What stops someone from creating a newer version of the GPL? What prevents someone from creating a GPL v4 with permissive license terms and using the "or (at your option) any later version" ...
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2 votes
1 answer
41 views

Create a new UI for an Apache 2.0 software

I'm creating a fork of a software distributed under the Apache License 2.0. This software has many components, one of them is its UI, where It's possible to find the creator's logo and other ...
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0 votes
0 answers
25 views

Can the license of a previously distributed binary be changed? [duplicate]

Let's say I have a programme X licensed under the GPL, to which I am the sole contributor and copyright holder. I distribute the binaries for X and provide the source code online as required by the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
76 views

How Viscosity VPN integrates OpenVPN with GPL2 license?

My understanding of GPL2 license make impossible that a proprietary software like "Viscosity" could possibly include a GPL2 code like OpenVPN. But going to their page, they clearly state ...
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12 votes
1 answer
697 views

Proprietary Software + GPL: A case study with OctaneRender and Blender

Background: I currently stumbled across an interesting case of a combination between a proprietary software and a GPL software, which I am trying to understand: There is the GPL software Blender - a ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

If a project only includes a copy of the GPL, can it be relicensed under any version?

There's a project that only includes a copy of the GNU GPLv2 accompanying it that I wish to combine with GPL-3.0-or-later code. Assume that simply including a license file applies it globally to the ...
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21 votes
4 answers
3k views

Hypothetical conflict - incorrectly licensed code

There's a scenario that's been rattling around in my brain for a while. Consider the following example. Josh, at Widgets Tech, goes to the internet and finds some code (GizmoLibrary) licensed MIT, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
171 views

Implications of Google v Oracle decision for GPL

What (if any) are the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision in Oracle v Google. It sets precedent that APIs are fair use. But how does this work with GPL? Specifically, imagine the ...
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-3 votes
2 answers
81 views

Free Office/Libre Office/Apache Office

How Free Office / Libre Office / Apache Office resembles Microsoft Office ? Did they committed a breach of copyright and cheated Microsoft Office? And, why till date, Microsoft is not taking any ...
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2 votes
1 answer
74 views

Section 14 of GPL(v3)

Section 14 of the GPL(v3) states: Revised Versions of this License. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the GNU General Public License from time to time. Such new ...
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4 votes
1 answer
792 views

Have there been any lawsuits involving breach of open source licences?

Here in Stack Exchange we have mentioned some cases of lawsuits involving open source projects that allegedly breached patents and were sued. I'm curious, however, in the opposite case: has anyone ...
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Excluding open-source contributions from work-for-hire

I'm doing contract work. I'm being asked to sign a standard (AFAICT) agreement that assigns all intellectual property I create to the employer. The context of this work is typical Python and Go ...
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4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Right to launch an application with FOSS license

According to Berne convention no one can copy / reproduce materials unless an author granted permissions. I thought that "open" licenses open copying / composition / distribution among ...
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1 vote
2 answers
63 views

What should I do to make my open source project legally sound?

I am currently making a small script that you use in the browser to get the current user's IP address (I use it with a WebRTC chat), and as I noticed that all popular packages that get an IP address ...
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2 votes
1 answer
814 views

What are the practical differences between MIT, Apache and BSD licenses?

Non-copy-left licenses are popular. AFAIK their point is mostly to protect the developers from being sued over loss of money or life (compared to no license at all). But I am neither a lawyer nor have ...
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1 vote
1 answer
234 views

Why Linus Torvalds and The Linux Foundation should not sue distributions for trademark infringment?

If we go to the Ubuntu website, the first reference to Linux is mid-way through the page, as can be seen in this screenshot: Here in "More than Linux", the word "Linux" is written ...
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1 vote
2 answers
434 views

Can Ubuntu be used to make money? [duplicate]

I plan to sell course(s) on Udemy by using Ubuntu. As you predict, there will be everything what the Ubuntu has (such as screens, icons, logos, symbols, tools, softwares etc. and their use) in the ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
222 views

Does multi-licensing disable "use/run for any purpose" right?

It is understood from the Open Source Initiative's definition of open source that the software under the licenses here and here can be used/run for any purpose. For example, it is understood that ...
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1 vote
1 answer
109 views

Are Open Source Licenses valid globally?

I found the Open Source Licenses here and here and want to know whether these are valid globally or not. For example, I am from Turkey. Are these licenses valid for me?
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4 votes
3 answers
350 views

Is it legal to use/run open source software for any purpose?

I am planning to be a Udemy instructor to make money. As you predict, I need softwares such as OS, Hypervisor, IDE, web browser, screen video recorder, etc. That's why, I'll use/run open source ...
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1 vote
1 answer
80 views

Legal aspect: active source code vs. inactive source code

Consider a case when in a software project the 3rd party source code is placed in between #if 0 ... #endif (and hence, is not compiled). How does this affect the legal aspect (ex. license selection) ...
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1 vote
1 answer
118 views

Helvetica Neue font in iOS 14 App

Some times ago I've received a legal issue from monotype.com. They told that I was using font Helvetica Neue in my iOS app since 2015 to 2020 and now I need to pay for this font for all these years. I ...
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2 votes
0 answers
55 views

Webdev: Open Source font and legal issues

I use the open source font Metropolis as main font for my webpages. However, apparently there has been a legal issue with similarities to Gotham. See https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/metropolis-font-...
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15 votes
4 answers
3k views

If you distribute GPL-code as non-GPL, can the receiver redistribute it as GPL?

Let's say I have written a proprietary program called MyProprietaryTool. The code has clear licenses on top of each file stating that it is proprietary code. (It's Python, so the code is what will be ...
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5 votes
3 answers
756 views

Do major electronic voting systems use closed-source software?

I have heard that some, if not all, widely used electronic voting systems (e.g., Diebold, Sequioa, Dominion) use closed-source software. If so, how can the public be sure that a closed system isn't ...
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0 votes
1 answer
57 views

MIT license for non-public use between two parties?

I'm looking for a license to use in a software project that is developed by two parties. The MIT license looks like a good choice because both parties have full rights and few restrictions. Both ...
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1 vote
1 answer
55 views

Can I write closed source software linked to a GPL library if I am the copyright holder?

Sorry for the rather strange question, I made a GPL library and I got a project I am making with it for someone else (alpha testing). The client wants the software that links to my library to be ...
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3 votes
2 answers
280 views

Using reverse-engineered closed protocol in open source software

The question is a partial derivative of this one: Someone open-sourced an un-open-source project Here is the situation: There is a device and a proprietary software to manage that device. They are ...
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2 votes
1 answer
85 views

Could reusing a project name as part of my own get me into trouble?

I'm thinking about releasing an extension package for PyPA's Twine. I wanted to name it twine-exists, but after giving it a minute of thought, I have doubts about whether that doesn't encroach over ...
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3 votes
1 answer
255 views

OS license and responsibility for code modification

Let's suppose that developer D created some OS code and published it under some OS license, e.g. MIT. A company C downloaded copy of the code, modified it a bit and incorporated in its own work. ...
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1 vote
2 answers
361 views

Use of open-source by “bad people”

I have two questions regarding the implications of releasing something open-source and it later being used by "bad people" (terrorists, authoritarian regimes, and so on). The first is about the legal ...
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2 votes
1 answer
49 views

Do I need to include the licence for part of a program, which I have modified?

The X window manager dwm is designed to be customised by copying its default configuration config.def.h (which is supplied, along with the program's source code, under the MIT/X consortium licence) ...
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0 votes
1 answer
143 views

Is it required to disclose proprietary / closed source code of commercial software which utilizes open source CDDLv1.0 libraries?

I am working on a Java server side solution utilizing open source libraries (using jars ‘as-is’) released under CDDLv1.0 license. The open source libraries is either statically or dynamically bound in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
147 views

Can AGPL code depends on closed source code

I have a closed source module (A) in odoo that it working fine without depending on anything. Now I would like to add an AGPL module(B) and integrate it with the module (A). So, I am planning to ...
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2 votes
1 answer
233 views

Clarification on using FFmpeg in an open source app

Can someone please clarify the legality of bundling and using the full version of FFmpeg (with included libx264 and libx265 and other gpl codecs) in an open source app. I don't want to modify ...
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4 votes
1 answer
163 views

Legal Status of SPDX Headers

My first ever question... Within the (excellent) GNURadio Project the source code (example here) generally features a header declaring the copyright holder, the project that the file is part of and ...
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