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.

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138
votes
2answers
56k 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 ...
111
votes
5answers
13k 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 "...
78
votes
5answers
10k 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?...
75
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
60
votes
5answers
35k views

Is Microsoft VS code really open source?

I have been using MS VS Code since a while now and I am I really loving it. Although the other day I was having a discussion regarding editors with my mentor where he pointed to me this. It's ...
42
votes
5answers
8k views

Can there be a copyright on negative code?

This is a hypothetical question, but I am curious. Feel free to ignore it, when it seems too theoretical for you. Some people may know the situation that you implement a feature and in the end you ...
40
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3answers
1k 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 ...
39
votes
3answers
52k views

Open-source license to prevent commercial use? [duplicate]

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 ...
37
votes
3answers
3k views

How could using code released under CC0 infringe on the author's patents?

Creative Commons defines a CC0 license type (here's the full legal code) that claims to allow creators to release their works into the public domain by waiving "all their copyright and related rights ...
35
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3answers
24k 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 ...
34
votes
3answers
10k views

Can I license my project with an open-source license but disallow commercial use?

I'd like to make my project open-source. Is there a free/open-source license that lets me do that, but disallows anyone receiving my project to use it for commercial purposes or monetary gain? In a ...
32
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
30
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11answers
10k views

Is there a generally accepted "anti-copyleft" clause or license?

I would like to publish code for an application under an open source license like BSD, MIT, or Apache 2 which allows for changes and derivative works to be contributed back to the open source project ...
30
votes
4answers
13k views

Am I legally required to provide a (GPL licensed) source code even after a project is abandoned?

I plan to develop an application using an easy to use GPLv2 licensed libraries. Once my app is complete I plan to distribute it free and open source complying with GPLv2 copyleft requirements. The ...
29
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
21k views

What is the point of including the MIT copyright text if you use someone's code licensed under MIT?

I'm confused as to what this license really means. Say I have a large piece of software I plan on selling and keeping closed source. It makes use of several small resources that are under the MIT ...
29
votes
2answers
24k views

Is Docker still free and open source?

Docker recently introduced the Moby project, which Docker is now based on, and which is free software (Apache 2.0). But the instructions to install Docker CE don't mention Moby at all, and they don't ...
26
votes
3answers
5k views

Can you withdraw the license on an open source project so that even those who already have it can no longer use it?

I have just read this post in the KDE-mailinglist and then i wonder (generally): If someone has released his software under the terms of (for example) GPL or LGPL or something similar, can he ...
26
votes
4answers
756 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
3k views

License for code snippets?

I share small snippets of code with friends, and would like to post them online for others to use. I'm not sure of the best license? I was thinking MIT, but it includes this clause: The above ...
26
votes
3answers
4k 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). ...
25
votes
3answers
16k 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.
25
votes
1answer
1k views

Ramifications of the proposed new SE licensing model

Like many other people I read this meta post. Since I don't really understand what is at stake I became confused and worried. Does this mean that I can legally force any organization to let me see ...
24
votes
2answers
14k views

What exactly is Tivoization and why did Linus Torvalds not like it in GPLv3?

I still don't understand what is Tivoization and why Linus Torvalds did not like it. Can you explain to me the big idea of Tivoization?
23
votes
2answers
432 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
5k views

Can someone re-license my BSD-3-licensed project under the MIT license, remove my copyright notices, and list me as a "collaborator" without consent

I maintain an open source numerical computing library. I license my project under BSD-3. Another developer has copied 90% of the source code to a new project with the same name, while changing the ...
22
votes
1answer
5k views

SSPL and the Open Source Definition

MongoDB has decided to change the licensing of MongoDB Community Server, seemingly to prevent businesses from monetizing on their product without giving anything back: https://www.mongodb.com/press/...
22
votes
3answers
332 views

For what reasons should you make the user agree to a FOSS licence during installation?

Most Windows installers for FOSS software make the user agree to the licence during installation: there'll be a page where the text is shown and a little tick box, you must have seen it before. But ...
21
votes
5answers
7k views

GPLv3 forces us to make code available, but to whom?

I've read that GPLv3 imposes that we should make the source code of our app available. But, available to whom? In case we sell our GPLv3 software, does it mean we have to make it available to those ...
21
votes
1answer
7k views

How to avoid being AWSed?

Elastic built the tool, AWS redistributed it and is dominating the market. Elastic is probably going to struggle and slowly die because they are bad at business. However, they built a great tool and ...
21
votes
4answers
3k 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'...
21
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

How much is "substantial portion" in MIT licence?

MIT license says: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. How much is that substantial portion? For ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I forbid shady resale practices?

From time to time, I come across a website that is clearly selling my MIT-licensed, FOSS project verbatim to unsuspecting buyers under an alternative name. Of course, they do not acknowledge the fact ...
20
votes
2answers
318 views

Will a dual license lock me in to a provider?

I want to use open source software for my business, and it is dual licensed. If I choose the paid license which provides support for any changes we require, will this mean that we are unable to change ...
20
votes
1answer
537 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
908 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 "...
19
votes
1answer
4k views

Difference between MongoDB SSPL and GNU AGPL

I'm trying to understand the difference between the SSPL and the GNU AGPL license, after reading the terms of SSPL. The 13th clause of the license states the following: If you make the ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Are the new GitHub Terms of service a kiss of death for open source projects?

This recent post tends to say that the new GitHub TOS make most open source projects at odds to comply with both their FOSS licensing and the TOS. Is this right? Anything copyleft (GPL, AGPL, LGPL,...
18
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
961 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
7k 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. ...
18
votes
1answer
7k views

Using GPL library with MIT licensed code

Let's say I created a project containing hundreds of source files under the MIT License (most of which I wrote myself for this project). Now I want to add a GPL library to the project, that will be ...
17
votes
3answers
844 views

Obtaining MIT licence for own plugin

I wrote a simple plugin in JavaScript and I want to put it on GitHub for people to download and use it freely. I saw many people include MIT licence in a file. How can I obtain the MIT licence? Do I ...
17
votes
1answer
4k 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? ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

GPL v3 "convey" vs. GPL v2 "distribute"

I've noticed that the GNU GPL version 3 uses the word "convey" where version 2 used "distriubte": GNU GPLv3: To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or ...
17
votes
3answers
251 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 ...

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