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

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 ...
2
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1answer
82 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 ...
3
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1answer
249 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
295 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 ...
2
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1answer
26 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) ...
0
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1answer
52 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
39 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
50 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
50 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 ...
9
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2answers
123 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 ...
4
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1answer
63 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 ...
4
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1answer
82 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
39 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 ...
1
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1answer
92 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 ...
2
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1answer
93 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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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 ...
2
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1answer
57 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 ...
3
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2answers
155 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
143 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
181 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
101 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 ...
4
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1answer
218 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 ...
2
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1answer
92 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 ...
7
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1answer
135 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
68 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 "...
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
299 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
309 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 ...
7
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2answers
209 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 ...
2
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1answer
164 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 ...
1
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1answer
108 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 ...
3
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1answer
525 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. ...
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
165 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 ...
2
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1answer
158 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 ...
1
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1answer
139 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 ...
1
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1answer
363 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 ...
2
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2answers
128 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 ...
0
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1answer
450 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 ...
4
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2answers
116 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 ...
4
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2answers
150 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 ...
4
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1answer
191 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). ...
9
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1answer
900 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 ...
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 ...
8
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1answer
214 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 ...