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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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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1answer
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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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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What stops someone from creating a newer version of the GPL?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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1answer
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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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24 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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2answers
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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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1answer
663 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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1answer
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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4answers
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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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1answer
125 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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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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1answer
69 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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1answer
458 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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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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3answers
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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2answers
58 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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1answer
410 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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147 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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2answers
430 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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1answer
208 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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1answer
104 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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3answers
274 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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1answer
58 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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1answer
95 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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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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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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3answers
682 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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1answer
50 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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1answer
51 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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2answers
213 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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1answer
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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1answer
254 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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2answers
340 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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1answer
38 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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1answer
102 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 ...
2
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1answer
115 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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1answer
162 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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1answer
125 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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0answers
27 views

Can I use a license with a warranty disclaimer when my country's laws make that inapplicable? [duplicate]

I'm studying Computer Science in Germany. Even before the beginning of my studies, I wrote some software in order to learn how to write good code (and in order to have fun, too :-) ). Now, I'd like to ...
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2answers
427 views

Is it legal to remove a dependency with a copyleft license from a proprietary project?

Imagine you have a proprietary project (non open source), and by mistake you added a dependency to a library with a strong copyleft license. You have already distributed your code. And you realize ...
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1answer
79 views

Legally, is getting a js file from a server the same as installing npm package?

I'm working on a (most possibly) proprietary front-end React app for my company. We use this npm package as a plugin for TinyMce editor. Turns out, it has GPL v3 license, which isn't allowed as per ...
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1answer
234 views

Using Oracle VirtualBox Base Package for Commercial Applications

The VirtualBox Base Package is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2. My company is distributing software that runs on an Ubuntu system within a VirtualBox VM. We have not modified ...
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0answers
117 views

How can I deploy an open source web app that hosts user data?

I'm thinking about developing an open-source web application where users can enter trips that they have done (touristic or commuting) and then view statistics and maps created from this data. From the ...
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1answer
73 views

Am I personally liable if user data from an open source web application is stolen?

I'm thinking about developing an open-source web application where users can enter trips that they have done (touristic or commuting) and then view statistics and maps created from this data. If I ...
2
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1answer
116 views

LGPL v3.0 and how it relates to wkhtmltopdf in a SAAS scenario: what are our obligations?

We would like to use this library https://github.com/SebastiaanKlippert/go-wkhtmltopdf to generate PDFs from HTML. That library is licensed under MIT. It is really nothing more than a wrapper for the ...
2
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1answer
244 views

Copyright of modifications and derivative works of Python License 2 licensed software

I am writing a Python package in which I plan to vendorize a modified copy of part of another package that was released under Python License 2 (it is not part of the PSL and not subject to any other ...
3
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1answer
121 views

Community and enterprise editions of LGPL software

Red Hat has community and enterprise editions of it's application server. WildFly is licensed under LGPL. JBoss EAP is based on WildFly and costs a lot of money. How is it possible that they don't ...
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29 views

Contract templates for open source work [closed]

Are there published templates or guidelines for contract terms for engagements where the deliverable is new open source software or an enhancement to existing open source software? I have some of my ...
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1answer
93 views

Can I use MPL-2 for not being held responsible for software bugs?

I just started my career as an online freelancer and even though I try to do my best I have this constant stress & anxiety about what will happen if there is a huge unwanted issue/bug in my code ...
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2answers
269 views

Are there any hybrid open-source/proprietary software licenses and business models?

Does licensing and ownership of software and intellectual property work on a spectrum of extremes and in-between nuances, or is it an "either this or that" decision? Let me give concrete examples ...