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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.

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88
votes
5answers
9k 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 "...
67
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
56
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
55
votes
5answers
4k 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?...
50
votes
5answers
22k 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 ...
41
votes
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 ...
30
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
29
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 ...
28
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
26
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
511 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
889 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
2k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
343 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
267 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
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). ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
2answers
282 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
363 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

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 ...
19
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,...
19
votes
4answers
1k 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
5answers
2k 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 ...
19
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
9k 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.
18
votes
1answer
885 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
2answers
16k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
696 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
2answers
633 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 "...
17
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
1k 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
227 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
3k 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/...
16
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
7k 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?
15
votes
1answer
2k 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? ...
15
votes
1answer
214 views

What license must I use on a commercial version of an open source project?

Suppose I have published a project under the Apache 2.0 (or similarly permissive license). Internally I have another version of the same project, which provides significantly extended functionality ...
15
votes
2answers
157 views

The Stack Exchange licence: Can I post open source code here?

Stack Exchange applies CC-BY-SA to all posts. How does this interact with free or open source licences? If someone wants to ask a question about a piece of open source software can they post code ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I license an open source application that uses closed source libraries?

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this question since the software I'm developing isn't completely open source, but here goes. Long story short (and for context), I'm a member of a not-for-...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Can hardware have a license?

I was reading a previously asked question, Can I distribute related software and hardware under the same license?, and then it occurred to me that hardware might have patents. Does this mean that ...
15
votes
1answer
354 views

Can I open source my music which includes copyrighted sound effects?

If I compose a piece of music using instruments and sound effects that I don't own the copyright to (but am licensed to use), can I release my composition under a free/open license that allows ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

When distributing a Linux kernel driver as source code, what's the difference between Proprietary and GPL license?

The company I work for is selling PCIe cards. I'm writing the Linux driver for it as a Linux kernel module. When selling these PCIe cards, we give along the Linux kernel driver as source code. ...
14
votes
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Use GPLv3 library in a closed system (no software distribution)

I'm developing a software that will be preinstalled in a headless PC. The user will see the "output" of the software processing (sent with a given protocol via ethernet), and can configure some ...
14
votes
2answers
3k 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"?
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How does one combine differently licensed code in one open source program?

I'm the author of WorldPainter. It's licensed according to the GPL v3, but I am about to include some code (dynmap) that is licensed according to the Apache License version 2.0. According to both ...