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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180 votes
2 answers
98k 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 ...
kojiro's user avatar
  • 1,903
129 votes
5 answers
19k 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 ...
Free Radical's user avatar
  • 9,065
95 votes
6 answers
15k 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?...
ratchet freak's user avatar
89 votes
2 answers
19k 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 ...
RubberDuck's user avatar
  • 5,388
69 votes
5 answers
43k 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 ...
rahil471's user avatar
  • 801
68 votes
4 answers
21k 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 ...
ArtOfCode's user avatar
  • 9,346
57 votes
3 answers
88k 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 ...
Tannin's user avatar
  • 689
51 votes
5 answers
9k 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 ...
allo's user avatar
  • 781
40 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Zizouz212's user avatar
  • 6,449
39 votes
2 answers
20k 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 ...
Ionică Bizău's user avatar
39 votes
3 answers
32k 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 ...
kdopen's user avatar
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39 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
Air's user avatar
  • 535
36 votes
3 answers
23k 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.
Andrew Savinykh's user avatar
35 votes
11 answers
11k 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 ...
Mike C.'s user avatar
  • 527
34 votes
2 answers
28k 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 ...
user2322082's user avatar
33 votes
2 answers
20k views

What exactly is Tivoization and why didn't Linus Torvalds like it in GPLv3?

I still don't understand what Tivoization is and why Linus Torvalds did not like it. Can you explain to me the big idea of Tivoization?
Ricardo's user avatar
  • 525
33 votes
2 answers
32k 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 ...
z0r's user avatar
  • 443
32 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
Mayur Patel's user avatar
31 votes
4 answers
15k 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 ...
user1034912's user avatar
  • 1,215
31 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
6k 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'...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,889
29 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
Prahlad Yeri's user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
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 ...
anion's user avatar
  • 389
27 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
SztupY's user avatar
  • 765
27 votes
3 answers
7k 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). ...
unor's user avatar
  • 5,620
27 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Abhi Beckert's user avatar
  • 2,899
27 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 381
27 votes
1 answer
55k 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 ...
DrakaSAN's user avatar
  • 435
27 votes
1 answer
29k views

Pros and Cons of using MPL-2.0 license?

I want to license my project (hosted on GitHub) under MPL-2.0, which looks like a reasonable choice. But since I'm not a lawyer, it's hard to estimate long-term benefits and consequences of this ...
Shersh's user avatar
  • 455
26 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why are open-source PDF APIs so hard to come by?

PDFs are inescapable, what surprises me is the lack of open-source tools available for interacting with them via some sort of API. One example which sticks in my mind was when I was using .NET to ...
Josh Hales's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
2k views

How to deal with licences after forking a project?

I forked a project with an MIT license on GitHub: The MIT License (MIT) Copyright (c) 2012 Some Name Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software ...
Edward's user avatar
  • 363
26 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
Marqin's user avatar
  • 445
24 votes
1 answer
6k 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 ...
user6039980's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
6k 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 ...
user3483203's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
574 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 ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 662
22 votes
5 answers
8k 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 ...
Alvaro's user avatar
  • 407
22 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Magus's user avatar
  • 323
22 votes
1 answer
6k 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/...
Mans Gunnarsson's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
521 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 ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
kdopen's user avatar
  • 6,927
22 votes
1 answer
9k 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 ...
user2375667's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
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 ...
alexw's user avatar
  • 857
21 votes
2 answers
4k views

Contributor asking to remove their contributions

I have a project licensed under the LGPL-3.0. A major contributor recently stopped contributing, and is now requesting all their contributions to be removed from the project. All the code in the ...
pauliesnug's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
1k 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 "...
Andy's user avatar
  • 728
21 votes
1 answer
7k 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? ...
Trevor Clarke's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
381 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 ...
trichoplax is on Codidact now's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
6k 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"?
user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
4k 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 ...
G.Rassovsky's user avatar
  • 2,967
20 votes
1 answer
727 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 ...
Mnementh's user avatar
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