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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94
votes
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 "...
5
votes
1answer
502 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 As I remember, Mattell bought a company who made a product under the GPL, rescinded the license and sued all those who redistributed original or ...
20
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2answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
221 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
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
595 views

Examples of companies undercutting smaller companies using FOSS?

When speaking to my friends about FOSS, a common concern comes up that if they release their code under a free and open source license, this might encourage companies to 'steal' their hard work ...
7
votes
2answers
449 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....
5
votes
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 ...
25
votes
10answers
5k views

Are open source developers at risk of being scammed?

Suppose your client asks you to build open source software for them. You begin doing the work and publishing updates on GitHub, but when you finish they tell you they don't like it and won't pay for ...
8
votes
2answers
216 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
21
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
483 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
188 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
108 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
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?
24
votes
3answers
601 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

What happens if very common code is released under GPL?

I know GPL can be used as an open-source license for source code etc. But what if the source code released has very few lines and has a lot of probability that it might also have been written already ...
8
votes
4answers
80 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.
45
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 ...
38
votes
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 ...
34
votes
2answers
952 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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