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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248 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
294 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
25 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
49 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
37 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 ...
2
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1answer
45 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 ...
3
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0answers
48 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 ...
2
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0answers
24 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 ...
3
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1answer
496 views

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

I have this question after what happened when Microsoft bought GitHub. But GitHub core is not git? I know that when you use a GPLv2 in your program you must have to give your program the same license. ...
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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?
9
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2answers
120 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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3answers
4k 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 ...
4
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1answer
62 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 ...
2
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1answer
56 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 ...
4
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1answer
67 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
115 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 ...
2
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1answer
51 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
30 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 ...
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1answer
65 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
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1answer
79 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 ...
32
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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 ...
2
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1answer
86 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 ...
6
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1answer
421 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
693 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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0answers
27 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 ...
7
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1answer
297 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
140 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 ...
4
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1answer
141 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 ...
92
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5answers
10k 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
170 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 ...
3
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1answer
96 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 ...
2
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1answer
85 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 ...
4
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1answer
216 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 ...
7
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1answer
131 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 ...
3
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1answer
65 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 "...
7
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2answers
207 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 ...
3
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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
135 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 ...
10
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1answer
168 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
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1answer
283 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
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2answers
303 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 ...
2
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1answer
157 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
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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 ...
3
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2answers
319 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"...
1
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1answer
103 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
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2answers
182 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 ...
1
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1answer
61 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
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1answer
162 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 of ...
2
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1answer
151 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 ...