Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

-1
votes
0answers
20 views

What License do I need and how do I do it? [closed]

I have a medium-large project for university that I want to license for further use distribution. Now I have no clue what License I need/want for that. Obviously I need the python-license, for I want/...
10
votes
1answer
121 views

Accidently commited plagiarism, what now?

I maintain an open-source project. Somebody made a pull-request two days ago, and I accepted it. Now I realized, that a large portion of the pull-request is just a copy-pasted from another project (...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

How do I detect an AGPL violation?

For client side code, even if it is obfuscated or is just a binary, I can imagine there might be ways of doing this, but if I have some server-side AGPL licensed code, how am I supposed to know that ...
5
votes
2answers
159 views

Is there a good license for a libertarian programmer who's against intellectual property?

I know, I know, you're probably thinking CC0 or WTFPL or something along those lines. But the thing is, the way I see it, people have a right to redistribute anything, even if the author doesn't want ...
5
votes
0answers
63 views

Offering exceptions to the GNU GPL as an employee

I find myself in the following situation; I have a software project under GPL license, which is a good fit for usage in the company I am currently employed at. Now I am happy to dual license it to ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Legality of open hardware vs. patents

While much discussion is there around software patents (because sometimes it's just maybe a creative idea), how does maker community position themselves to existing patents? In other words, is high ...
28
votes
7answers
3k views

Embedding GPL code in proprietary software

Here's a tricky situation that I didn't encounter before: My company embeds a piece of slightly modified GPLv3 code into their otherwise proprietary application. They don't link a library or ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Can you make GPL-licensed software using the Tizen SDK?

Unfortunately, Tizen has a proprietary SDK, as discussed here, which mandates that: You may not use any component part of the Tizen SDK in any way independent from the Tizen SDK. You may not load ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Why Github is not opensource when it's use Git that has GPLv2 license?

I have this question after all happens when Microsoft bought Github. But Github core is not git? I now that when you use a GPLv2 in your program you must have to give your program the same licence. ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

Can a gap in a license coverage on a VCS be exploited?

Consider this: I have a repository on, for example, GitHub, and add a file I wrote. I forget to mention the file in the license, and publish the updated version to the repository, realizing the ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

Can we mention possible users without their permission?

I've created many open source projects under MIT license. Due to the inquiries I receive, stargazers, and direct communication with the people who are using them, I know many big companies who are ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Statements on GDPR with respect to FOSS

The General Data Protection Regulation that is about to come into effect in the EU appears to impose requirements to (among others) anyone who runs a website of public interest. As some of these ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Buying a license to public domain software (where PD is recognized)?

Are there ever any practical reasons for purchasing an explicit license to "public-domain" software, assuming both the software developer and the user reside in jurisdictions where the public domain ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Open source crypto project liability

I'm working on a crypto wallet for a top 50 cryptocurrency. I'm part of the core team and we were discussing potential liability around the app we're building. The user always has their wallet seed ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Do I need to provide additional disclaimers when releasing code related to taxes?

I wrote a few scripts to help with doing my US Federal taxes this year. To do things like estimating sales tax and parsing information from 1099 forms. I wanted to post this code on GitHub in case ...
2
votes
2answers
100 views

Is it legal to release an old commercial software as free software?

A group of friends and I are discussing founding a startup where the products would be commercial software. One the most important aspects that in our opinion we should put in any legal agreement is ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Is it legal to release an open source piece of malware [closed]

Is it perfectly legal to release an open source botnet registered under the MIT license? I understand that statements such as 'you download this program agreeing everything you do with it is on your ...
4
votes
2answers
69 views

Is the applicability of Open Source Software Licenses the same in all countries?

I am referring to open source software used in commercial products sold in different countries. Is fulfilling the license obligations described in the license text enough or there are also local laws ...
4
votes
2answers
81 views

Do Open Source/Free Software projects require submitters to submit proof of authorization to contribute?

Almost all paid programmers in North America (and probably the whole world?) have signed an agreement with their employer which assigns all inventions, copyright, patents, and intellectual property ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

How to best deal with email suggesting an attempted/pending gpl violation

I received the email, reproduced below, requesting a new feature in one of my gpl programs, which this company would then build into one of their closed-source products (see the email for details). ...
6
votes
1answer
321 views

What is the purpose of “or (at your option) any later version”? What if I don't want this?

Firstly, what is the exact purpose of the phrase "or (at your option) any later version" that usually accompanies GPL-licensed software? I get that it's supposed to be to allow future freedoms to be ...
28
votes
4answers
7k views

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

Let's say some company is developing a software component licensed under GPLv2. The company never intends to release the software to the public because they are only installing it on their internal ...
7
votes
1answer
91 views

Copyright assignments in Germany

When contributing to some of their projects, the FSF requires you to assign the copyright to your work to the FSF. As I'm German, I'm interested in whether this is compatible with German law. German ...
-1
votes
1answer
41 views

Donations for an open source project that is based on other strategy game

I have a question about donations to an open source project that is based on an old strategy game from 90 years (they have own developers and own big publishers and even sells in Steam now). So we ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Open Source licenses in the Dominican Republic

I live in the Dominican Republic where there Open Source isn't contemplated in the Constitution. I want to make Open Source hardware. How should I go about this? Should I get a patent and license it ...
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Are there legal issues with bundling one's own LGPL-licensed code with proprietary code?

My company's legal team is currently worried about how to move forward with some app releases intended for our enterprise customers. Here's the gist of it: We have many products referred to as "apps"...
3
votes
2answers
157 views

Why Google’s court victory might kill the GPL?

On the article: Op-ed: Oracle attorney says Google’s court victory might kill the GPL They say: It is hard to see how GPL can survive such a result. In fact, it is hard to see how ownership of a ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is using MIT-licensed code in non-open source code considered stealing?

What if we use MIT-licensed code in our propietary software? Is it considered stealing? I saw some software that was packaged with MIT licensed code in the installation directory. Some people think ...
10
votes
1answer
335 views

Has the MIT license been “Battle tested” in court?

The GPL has been pertinent to several court cases. We know it is strong because it has been "battle-tested". Can the same be said to be true for the MIT license?
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Can the US Government require registration to obtain government-developed code?

I've heard that it is against US Government policy to require registration in order to download US Government-developed Open Source code. But I couldn't find definitive answer via 15 minutes of ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Open source project from an idea at my job

I've recently used https://github.com/ARCANEDEV/SEO-Helper to build a SEO Bundle for Symfony 2.8 at my company. It was a bit painful as the Symfony standards weren't followed by ARCANEDEV (it's a ...
9
votes
1answer
319 views

Including untouched LGPL library in a MIT-licenced project

Can I include a library licenced under LGPL 2.1 in an MIT-licenced project without any legal problems? Since it's not a compiled language, I would provide the full untouched source code of the ...
1
vote
2answers
365 views

Can you commercialize a GNU General Public License product?

So from what I understand a product under GNU General Public License needs to stay under GNU General Public License (with references to the previous copyright owner). So if you sell it then the full ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

symfony-standard is an app skeleton, can I change/remove LICENSE?

I am wondering about copyright matters on projects built using an MIT-licensed project skeleton. The symfony-standard contains a MIT license but obviously, at the end of a proprietary project, this ...
4
votes
1answer
416 views

Using ffmpeg in comercial application?

Is it OK, patent-wise, to use FFMPEG (for transcoding and video trimming) in a commercial application, be it free of charge or pay per install, on Android and iOS considering that both Google and ...
7
votes
2answers
193 views

Is it legal to use code from Microsoft Knowledge Base Article in an open source software?

In an open-source software project, GPL2 or 3, is it legal to use code snippets from Microsoft Knowledge Base articles - the ones that used to be called something like Q1234567, nowadays called just ...
4
votes
1answer
42 views

Can a dataset protected by Databases rights be licenced?

Data sets and databases that lack a relevant component of originality are not protected by Copyright in the EU. However, a Directive from 1993 establishes what became known as Databases rights, ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

What must I consider when accepting outside contributions to an Open Source project that has a salaried core team?

If I start an open source project today and volunteers start to contribute, what do I need to consider tomorrow when the project makes money? If we establish a core team that receives a salary, are we ...
3
votes
3answers
293 views

GPL - is it distribution to use libraries in an appliance loaned to customers?

Let's say there is a hardware appliance which a company would like to rent out to customers for use e.g. during trade fairs. The appliance is fed image data, analyses it and displays the results on-...
4
votes
2answers
85 views

Can I open source a piece of software that I am already licensing to someone?

I have written a piece of software, which I am licensing to a company, moreover the license is exclusive in some specific fields of use. I am currently thinking about publishing the said piece of ...
15
votes
2answers
274 views

Theseus' Paradox applied to code copyright

Assuming a copyright license (I'll reference Apache 2.0, but that's an example only) that allows derivations, at what point are those derivations so extensive that the Apache license no longer applies?...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

What's the status of CC0 under the eyes of German law?

In another question I asked Tim Malone suggested that Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication might be incompatible with German law. What's the exact status of CC0 under the eyes of German law? ...
6
votes
2answers
132 views

Ethical Open Source Protection

I saw this post concerning the ethical use of software and it brought another question to mind. If I were to release software with an open source license, and someone were to use it in a manner that ...
2
votes
1answer
386 views

Are all GPL Licensed projects free to use for commercial use? [duplicate]

I having a few issues understanding how sites like gpldl.com can call themselves legal. This is basically a site where they purchase themes/plugins from developers such as: WooThemes iThemes Gravity ...
4
votes
2answers
311 views

Telemetry in open source software?

Is it OK to embed some telemetry functions in an open source project or is it considered spying or privacy violating? I would like to connect my open source app to Microsoft Application Insights to ...
4
votes
1answer
52 views

Example of open source project that has had legal problems with contributors claiming any kind of right over their contribution?

I'm doing some research about Contributor Licensing Agreements (CLAs) and I was wondering if they are not an overkill. I will probably end up using them in the project I work with because I prefer to ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Is a binary compatible interface to a proprietary spec proprietary

I am putting together some code that will use the Steinbergs VST3 specification and it has occurred to me that it would make a nice open source project. Most that exist are a bit old and are based on ...
4
votes
1answer
141 views

Who owns the copyright to the code which was paid for to write?

For example, the repository owner owns the app and publishes the partial source code and creates few tasks supported by some bounty to write some new components (such as new functions, classes, etc.). ...
5
votes
3answers
113 views

Would this scenario be considered “propagation without conveying” according to the GPLv3 terminology?

I have a fancy software "foo" that may be considered the derivative work of a GPLv3 library. "foo" is GPLv3 itself. Example 1: I install the foo binary on my company's laptop, go to a customer's ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

What truly defines open source? Can someone call something open source and charge?

I have recently been looking for open source dating software to build upon and I keep seeing things like this: www.skadate.com/open-source.php www.a-dater.com www.abk-soft.com ph7cms.com Which ...