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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8
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2answers
217 views

Does an employee have the right to use a CTA?

Most people who work in software development have signed an Intellectual Property Rights Assignment notice whenever they start a new job. The purpose of these assignments is to ensure the employer ...
9
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2answers
362 views

Can Heartbleed have legal implications?

The Heartbleed-bug of the software OpenSSL was a security-nightmare for IT around the world. We already know the bug was caused by a patch from a german programmer named Robin Seggelmann. While he ...
18
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2answers
2k 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 ...
3
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0answers
80 views

Open source firmware (e.g. OpenWRT) supporting manufacturers? [closed]

According to recent news the US FCC has targeted the network devices enforcing manufacturers to lock down firmwares to prevent installation custom firmwares like OpenWRT. You can read the whole ...
4
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2answers
122 views

Could I run my own websites about projects I do not own?

I've found a few open-source software projects and I'd like to run my own websites regarding them, but not claiming to own them; just make a place where information and such can be found. I believe I ...
10
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2answers
208 views

Am I free to distribute a software for a file format that was reverse engineered?

The scenario is the following: a proprietary software can save files in its own file format. I want to build a free/open-source software capable of decoding those files for further processing. Given ...
18
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1answer
903 views

Why are you obliged to comply with the license of an anonymous project?

Is there any point in complying with the licence which comes with a project published anonymously (like the initial Bitcoin source code)? If so, in case of breaking the rules of your license, who has ...
2
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3answers
276 views

Can you open source a virus/exploit?

Is it fine to open source a virus, exploit or any other potential dangerous software (if used in the wrong way)? If so, are there any limitations/circumstances when you can't? Does it depends on the ...
0
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1answer
76 views

What are the limits of Libre when publishing open access controversial books? [closed]

We're living in freedom of speech community. However when writing controversial books, are there any topics which are not allowed to write about in First World countries (even for educational purposes)...
8
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2answers
189 views

Can I serve open cola in proprietary glasses?

I've just acquired the Hypothetical Cafe (come and visit, we serve great hypothetical food and drinks), and some fancy posh glasses*. They're so posh that an international designer did a special ...
2
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1answer
1k views

When is making a subtitle file for a commercial movie legal? [closed]

For example, on OpenSubtitles, a website which offers 3.5mln subtitles we can read Disclaimer: These files are NOT illegal warez downloads, we only offer files that we believe we are free to ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Can you open source firmware for closed hardware?

Can you publish open source firmware for closed/commercial hardware (such as routers, motherboards or basically any device) without asking the manufacturer? A few examples which seem to indicate that ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Am I in danger if a project component is relicensed?

I am currently managing a project, which includes a library that is licensed under the MIT license. My current project is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. The maintainers of the library that I ...
9
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1answer
278 views

GPL interpretation - What is our legal exposure if we include another project's code?

I am a contributor to a very old project presently licensed under the GPL. Our project is a plugin for a closed-source program, but the GPL does not permit this kind of linking. The GPL FAQ states: ...
7
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1answer
512 views

GPL Violation - What is our legal exposure to third parties (not our contributors)?

I am a contributor to a very old project presently in violation of the GPL. Our project is a plugin for a closed-source program, but the GPL does not permit this kind of linking. The project should ...
14
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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 ...
5
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1answer
503 views

Have open source licenses been shut down in court?

There was a lawsuit between Mattell regarding CPHack. As I remember, Mattell bought a company who made a product under the GPL, rescinded the license and sued all those who redistributed original or ...
24
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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 ...
6
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1answer
110 views

What is the difference between a ported and non-ported licenses?

What I know: From what I have read ported licenses are for specific locations while non-ported licenses have been customized to work in as many places as possible. Question: Even though I license ...
8
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1answer
222 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 ...
4
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1answer
110 views

What's the proper way to use another project in your own open source software? [closed]

I am working on adding an entirely new set of features to an open source project that my team has created. Before I got started though, I did some research to see what other were offering in that area ...
5
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2answers
194 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 ...
7
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2answers
451 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....
0
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1answer
174 views

Looking for a legally-strong open source license

Most licenses available do not seem to carry any legal weight. Are there any Open Source licenses that do? The old copyright laws used to impose a monetary fine for infringement, but then how do the ...
3
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2answers
515 views

Can freeware be redistributed without changes? [closed]

Freeware is software that is provided gratis i.e. without cost, but without source or the freedoms like modification and redistributing those modifications. If freeware is being actively distributed ...
24
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3answers
614 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
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4answers
81 views

Legal pitfalls when (re)selling OS solutions?

What legal pitfalls should be considered when (re)selling OS bases solutions? As you can't ask any fee for the Open Source code itself this seems a sensitive area to me.
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2answers
968 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 "...

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