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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42 views

Can someone else patent an invention that I have introduced in my open source project?

Is open source protected in any way if I haven't filed for a patent myself? Maybe a specific license? Any examples of open source projects that introduced 'inventions' that could be patented (but they ...
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2answers
68 views

Technically posible to prohibit closed source drivers with Linux?

Would it be technically (legally) possible for the Linux kernel developers to create a new license (similar to GPLv2) but different in the sense that hardware manufacturers are prohibited from ...
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0answers
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Do the Huawei App Gallery terms allow for GPL software?

I've asked a similar question about the Amazon AppStore, and now I'm curious about the Huawei App Gallery. Is it possible to submit an app licensed under the GPL v3 or later to that store without ...
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1answer
63 views

Do Amazon AppStore terms allow for GPL software?

The terms for the Apple AppStore have been shown to conflict with the GNU GPL in such a way as to prevent GPL apps from being in the store — see this question. Are the Amazon AppStore (the standard ...
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1answer
153 views

Do permissive or copyleft licenses have a limited term based on US copyright law?

If you write a book, the copyright for that work is protected for a long time, but the work will eventually enter the public domain under US copyright law. Does the same thing apply to pieces of ...
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1answer
35 views

Sharing machine learning models of a confidential dataset

Please share me your thoughts about using machine learning models from confidential datasets. For example, I have a classification model I trained using sklearn. In general, can I use the model for ...
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1answer
84 views

Is there a legal definintion of a file?

The MIT, GPL, and Apache Licenses all make references to "files". Here are example of such references: (all emphasis added) MIT: Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person ...
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1answer
41 views

GNU General Public License version 2 on a game image resource

I am creating a commercial game, with most resources using CC-BY-xx licences for graphics, sound etc. I have found some graphics that i want to add to my game. However, these graphics are licensed as "...
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1answer
139 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 (...
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1answer
137 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 ...
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2answers
206 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 ...
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2answers
163 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 ...
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1answer
68 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 ...
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4k 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 ...
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1answer
75 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 ...
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1answer
200 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 license. ...
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2answers
173 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 ...
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1answer
52 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 ...
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1answer
133 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 ...
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1answer
86 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 ...
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1answer
99 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 ...
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1answer
40 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 ...
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2answers
112 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 ...
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1answer
258 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 ...
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2answers
75 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 ...
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2answers
113 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 ...
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1answer
132 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). ...
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1answer
498 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
146 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 ...
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1answer
46 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 ...
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1answer
73 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 ...
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2answers
147 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"...
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2answers
236 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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1answer
478 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?
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1answer
29 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 ...
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1answer
102 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 ...
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1answer
557 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 ...
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2answers
509 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
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1answer
141 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 ...
3
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1answer
591 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 ...
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2answers
229 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 ...
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2answers
55 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, ...
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1answer
44 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 ...
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3answers
447 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-...
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2answers
90 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 ...
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2answers
412 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?...
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1answer
219 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? ...
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2answers
155 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 ...