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Questions tagged [licensing]

Licensing refers to applying a license to an area of software. Only use this tag if your question concerns the application of a license to an area of interest. If your question concerns a specific license, use the tag that corresponds to your license. For more general questions, use this tag.

78
votes
5answers
8k 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 "...
51
votes
2answers
4k views

What can I assume if a publicly published project has no license?

There is some code on GitHub that I would like to use. The repository has no public declaration of license that I can find. But this particular project has over 200 forks and is a pretty active ...
50
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is CC BY-SA discouraged for code?

Everybody knows that you shouldn't use a CC BY-SA license on your code. Even the Creative Commons folk recommend against it. What I don't know or understand is why. I can't seem to find any ...
49
votes
5answers
3k views

How can a project be relicensed?

I've found out that the license I picked for my project does not quite do what I wanted it do (bad research). Now I want to change the license. Is it as simple as changing the LICENSE.txt in the root?...
29
votes
3answers
1k views

Do I really need to include a licence file for common licences like GPL or MIT?

The GPL3, for example, says: Conveying Verbatim Copies. You may convey verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and ...
20
votes
1answer
316 views

What are the licensing terms of the text of the GPL?

The text of the GPLv3 starts with the following disclaimer: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. What does this ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Do I have to offer the source of an AGPL (v3.0) licensed Web app even if I didn’t modify it?

The point of using the GNU Affero General Public License (Version 3) is that it allows "users who interact with the licensed software over a network to receive the source for that program" (FSF). ...
40
votes
3answers
944 views

Can I “Override” a licensing policy?

On many sites, especially Stack Overflow, I can't help but notice such amazing code snippets. However, they come with a "catch" designed by the author. With user contributions being licensed with the ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Are licenses irrevocable by default?

I've noticed that some FOSS licenses explicitly mention that they are irrevocable (as long as their conditions are met) and others are silent on this point. Does this matter? Are the licenses that don'...
18
votes
3answers
7k views

If I'm using a GPL 3 library in my project, can I license my project under MIT license?

If I'm using a library that is licensed under GPL v3 in my project, can I license my project under the MIT license? I tried to read the GPL v3 text but I cannot understand it without your assistance.
7
votes
2answers
554 views

Why do almost all open source licenses require attribution?

Almost all popular open source licenses require derivative works to give attribution to the original author(s). The only exceptions I'm aware of are the nearly-public-domains ones (CC0, WTFPL, ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

When folks send me pull-requests on GitHub, what are their copyright/licensing terms by default?

Say I'm maintaining a GPLv3 project on GitHub with a LICENSE file, code headers and all. Now, a few folks made some code enhancements and sent me a pull-request. Does that automatically mean that they ...
6
votes
1answer
455 views

AGPL v3 licensing: How does external party determine if modifications were made?

When using an AGPL v3 licensed software within a public-facing web application hosted on a private server, you are obligated (section 13) to share your code if you modify the original AGPL code. Many ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Licensing and publicly hosting commercial software, but free for non-profit or personal use

I am developing a commercial PHP software which I will offer for free for non-profit, open source, personal usage and for self training and I want to make it open source but in the same time it is a ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

Copyright and Contributing to an Open Source Project

I'm a little confused by copyright notices on open source projects. Let's say that a particular project is covered by a very permissive license, such as MIT or BSD. A copyright notice appears from ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

AGPLv3 source redistribution: when does it apply to my code for a server-side Java app using an AGPL-licensed library?

I have written a Java program designed to run server-side with a plain HTML web interface: My app is based based on Apache Tomcat and I wrote a bunch of servlets. I am reusing and I have integrated ...
19
votes
2answers
8k views

MIT license and “All rights reserved.”?

I recently saw something like this: Copyright (c) Some Corporation All rights reserved. MIT License ... And then the MIT license follows. Now, from what I know the MIT license is one of the most ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Why shouldn't Creative Commons licenses be used for software? [duplicate]

Suppose I was finishing up an open source software. I needed to license it under an open source license. My question: Why would I not want to license my software under a Creative Commons license? ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Is my code FLOSS just because it is published it on GitHub?

Does publishing my code on GitHub make it FLOSS automatically? Is there some license automatically assigned to it? Is it "technically or say literally, open source"?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Java and AGPL 3: how far does license extend into web app?

I want to use a java library released by someone else having an AGPL3 license. I'm not modifying their library, but I do link to it using import com.theirlibrary.methodABC; in one of my java classes ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Can I put a copyright on my website and make the code private when the source code is partially copied from an open source GNU GPL V3 project

I've rewritten my personal website using this https://github.com/bk2dcradle/researcher . I've made some significant changes. Like I did on my previously (built from scratch) website, I'd like to add ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I use an MIT license for code but protect the copyright of photos in my repository?

My project is a fork of a project that comes with the MIT license and nobody wants to change the license that applies to the software. However, some of the content that is also stored on GitHub is not ...
29
votes
2answers
9k views

What's the difference between Copyright and Licensing?

Preamble There are two other questions, specifically related to Licensing and Copyright. In reviewing the answers and comments, I get the feeling that people generally consider the two to be the ...
14
votes
1answer
11k views

Open-source license to prevent commercial use?

I could really use some help picking the right license for my project. The project is already released on github under the GPLv3 license but I have been made aware that this prevents uses that I want ...
23
votes
2answers
310 views

Is OSI approval important for a license?

I've heard an open source license described as "popular and OSI-approved". To that, someone asks: Is OSI approval important? which is a great — and important — question in its own right. So, is ...
19
votes
4answers
889 views

Can I create my own license by modifying an existing one?

I'm taking the following Stack Overflow question and its answers into consideration: Can you create your one software license? My question here however is not creating a completely new license from ...
17
votes
3answers
220 views

Can I force my work to be open sourced in the future?

Is there a mechanism or service that allows me to offer my work under non-free terms, but guarantee that some time in the future, the work automatically becomes open source? For example, could I ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Common practice on GitHub and license/copyright

I have been searching the web for quite some time now, but the plethora of opinions/comments/articles about licensing questions make it difficult to verify how trustworthy the various sources are. ...
6
votes
1answer
430 views

Can I use/distribute LGPL command line software in mine that isn't LGPL?

I've developed a little software that use FFmpeg in command line mode. To further clarify: My software launch several times ffmpeg.exe that is stored inside the same folder as my .exe. User never ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I use a Apache v2 licensed driver for a commercial project without revealing sources of the project?

I am building a project that will be commercialised. One of the library I use is licensed under Apache v2. To my understanding, if I modify the library, I need to give the source of the library with ...
17
votes
2answers
545 views

Can I restrict who can utilize my software?

Can a project be licensed as "open source", yet place a restriction on who can utilize the software? For example, if my software falls under software export controls, can I continue to license it as "...
11
votes
3answers
435 views

How can I start an open source project and keep people from taking it and selling it? I want to keep it free, open and never be sold

Background: Suppose I want to licence a project I have been working on for quite some time. The goals for this license are: Open Source Free to use Never to be sold Question: What license would ...
10
votes
1answer
285 views

Am I forced to release my project under GPL, even though no GPL source is included?

Recently I ran into a GPL license related problem and I heard many people claiming many different things. I made this post to get this cleared up for myself. Situation There is a program which is ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

Do unlicensed commits to a project acquire an open source license?

I have recently created a small project and pushed it to GitHub. I now plan on applying an open-source license. Once I choose a license and commit it to the project, are the older versions subjected ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

When does a dependency imply a derivative work?

I'm building a program which gets certain info off the net, makes calculations, then sends the info to the net again. I don't program the 'taking off the net' and 'sending to the net' parts though; ...
23
votes
3answers
461 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

Does being open sourced mean others can use my logo?

Suppose I have created an open source application I have also created a snazzy logo to go with the application (for example, the Eclipse logo) I released my application's source code under a ...
10
votes
1answer
269 views

What am I supposed to do if someone is breaking the terms of my licensed software?

What should I do if someone is breaking the terms of my licensed software? To create a small example for you, I'll take a section out of the Apache 2.0 license: You may add Your own copyright ...
10
votes
2answers
638 views

GPL licenced code for a module of a closed source program

I want to create a dynamically loadable module (.dll or .so) for a closed source program, but I would like to make the source code of this module available, and I'd like it to be (A)GPL licensed, so ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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
1answer
710 views

Relicensing an MIT licensed project under the GPL that has non code contributions from others

I have an Android Game I've written that I released under the MIT license. Recently, there have been several people who have downloaded the source of my application, added ads and uploaded it to the ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

Can I redistribute BSD software under GPL with no changes?

If GPL and BSD code are combined in a piece of software, the entire work comes under GPL but its BSD portions can still be obtained under that license. What if the size of the GPL portion is exactly ...
7
votes
1answer
183 views

Are discriminatory free licenses still free?

With free licenses, one cannot restrict who or how the software is used. Suppose that I construct a license that says: If you are not Steve you are permitted to license under A; if you are Steve ...
6
votes
3answers
137 views

Commercial licence deproliferation attempts

I often run into various licenses for commercial software, and large part of that software has a different text saying the same thing. With license proliferation being a known thing in OSS, are/were ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

Can an interpreted program be under any license without restricted by its GPL'ed run-time environment?

If I write a run-time environment based on some GPL'ed libraries and separately write an program interpreter which is passively used by the run-time environment, can a program (which is intended to be ...
6
votes
1answer
455 views

What license options do I have for licensing ported source code?

If, I port Ruby on Rails (licensed under MIT) from Ruby to Java what license options do I have? Would I have to use MIT or a compatible license?
5
votes
2answers
694 views

Does the MIT license's right to “sublicense” allow me to change the license of someone else's work?

I understand that, generally speaking, you may not issue a license on a copyrighted work if you do not own the copyright to that work. Licensing is an exclusive right of the copyright holder. Instead, ...
4
votes
1answer
868 views

Can I legally use code I found on a forum?

I want to write an R package and release on CRAN. But I have concerns about legal issues: licensing and authorship/ownership. Code of some functions in the package will be derived from or based on ...
4
votes
2answers
126 views

Under what conditions can someone dual licence existing works?

When software is diffused under an open-source licence I imagine that a project becomes the "intellectual property" of the community. However, I'm not clear about this answer in that an author agrees ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Licensing LGPL software commercially

We have a mobile app software and we distribute it with LGPL v3. It uses other 2 components licensed under LGPL-v3 and MIT. For our own code, we are have the full ownership (i.e. nobody else have made ...