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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23 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
41 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
58 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
30 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 ...
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5answers
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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 ...
2
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1answer
48 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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1answer
344 views

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

For example, the repository owner owns the app, publishes the partial source code, and creates few tasks supported by some bounty to write some new components (such as new functions, classes, etc.). ...
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2answers
501 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 ...
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1answer
40 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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0answers
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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
240 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
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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 ...
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1answer
113 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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5answers
9k views

How can a “crayon” license be a problem?

Bruce Perens (co-founder of OSI) has coined the term "crayon license": I've been calling these "crayon licenses", taking a line from an old Monty Python sketch about a dog license with the word "...
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2answers
78 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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31 views

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
68 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
52 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
187 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
98 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
50 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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2answers
180 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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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
269 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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1answer
115 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
148 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
195 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
240 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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1answer
93 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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7answers
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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2answers
220 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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1answer
87 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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2answers
178 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
54 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
146 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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4answers
1k views

What are the implications of the Google vs. Oracle case on the state of public APIs?

There is a case between Google and Oracle over the use of Java and it's standard library on the Google Android operating system. From this article: To recap: Oracle accused Google of copying some ...
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1answer
110 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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2answers
117 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
99 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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9answers
2k views

Does open source qualify as being part of the public domain?

According to Google, Open Source is... denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. It seems to be that the product seems to ...
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1answer
331 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
85 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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1answer
560 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
3k views

How much is “substantial portion” in MIT licence?

MIT license says: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. How much is that substantial portion? For ...
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2answers
251 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
122 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
181 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
662 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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1answer
161 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 ...