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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
88
votes
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 "...
18
votes
2answers
461 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?...
21
votes
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 ...
38
votes
3answers
3k views

What can/should I do when I see a violation to GPL restrictions?

Some years ago, I was working on a software company that used some copyrighted JAR dependencies that they had bought from a medium-size obscure private company for a very expensive price. After some ...
34
votes
2answers
793 views

Can I change the caps to lowercase in licenses?

The well-known MIT (or "X11/MIT" license reads): Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), ...
31
votes
5answers
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 ...
43
votes
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 ...
24
votes
3answers
514 views

What happens if I share code online without any licence declaration?

What will the licence of the code be? If this is jurisdiction / country based what is relevant in this case? The place of origin of the poster, the host where the code lives, or the one who tries to ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I develop closed source software with an open source development environment? [closed]

Are there any legal consequences that I could encounter with? If it's possible, what should I keep a close attention to while I'm doing it?
7
votes
2answers
435 views

Interference of Software Patents with Free & Open Source Software

While visiting wikipedia page on Free and open-source software, I noticed the challenges from the template at bottom: In which Digital rights management and Software patents seems considerable to me....
2
votes
1answer
657 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

How is Oracle suing Google for copyright infringement when Java is Open Source?

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 ...
24
votes
2answers
5k views

Why doesn't this GPL loophole work?

Suppose Alice makes some proprietary software. The source is available, but under a proprietary license which prohibits derivative works and sublicensing. Bob writes some GPLv3 code. Carol prepares ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it OK to remove the license terms for a code snippet?

A while ago, I encountered an edit suggestion on Stack Overflow. The OP had posted a snippet that was under the GPL, and included the GPL in the snippet. The editor tried to remove the GPL as it was ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Borrowing ideas rather than code from open source projects

I work in a field where people (competitors?) reverse engineer things, and for this reason, there are many implementations around, all of which are open source. Sometimes in order to save time, I look ...
16
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
497 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
175 views

What issue does the Mozilla Public License have with the European Legal System?

I was quite surprised to see the following in an answer: (emphasis mine) For new projects, you should avoid the MPL as it has issues with the European law system. For this reason, the CDDL can be ...
5
votes
2answers
173 views

Interference of DRM with free & open source software

While visiting the Wikipedia page on Free and open-source software, I noticed the Challenges section from template at the bottom: In which Digital rights management and Software patents seems ...
8
votes
1answer
198 views

Can I apply an open source license if I referenced copyright documentation during development?

I am working on python library that wraps a non-free C library. In order to develop this, I referenced the C library's copyrighted documentation. Because of that my function and variable names are the ...
7
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
96 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
194 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 ...
3
votes
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 "...
3
votes
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 ...