79 votes
Accepted

Someone open-sourced an un-open-source project

Person A has no right to distribute that software, and is committing a copyright violation. Since they hold no rights in the software, they cannot grant a license to others. Any license they purport ...
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  • 33.2k
50 votes
Accepted

Is requiring a license a violation of the GPL? Can I get around it?

You should be able to request the complete corresponding modified source code to the complete application from your vendor under the GPL without additional costs in excess of the media. If he refuses,...
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  • 516
30 votes
Accepted

Since some software is open source, can you add a feature you created and use it for your own personal use?

Yes VSCode Mureinik already pointed out that VSCode is licensed under the MIT license, which is a permissive license. To quote from it (emphasis mine): Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Is re-encoding an audio or video file permitted under CC-BY-ND?

CC BY-ND 4.0 says in section 2(a)(4): Media and formats; technical modifications allowed. The Licensor authorizes You to exercise the Licensed Rights in all media and formats whether now known or ...
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  • 30.9k
26 votes

Is requiring a license a violation of the GPL? Can I get around it?

The GPL only affects the source code of the project, not the binaries that are distributed. The strong copyleft clause of the GPL affects the source code, and forces that any derivative works are also ...
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  • 6,229
25 votes
Accepted

Ramifications of the proposed new SE licensing model

I posted an answer to the announcement post that pretty much sums up why part of this - the exception - is a bad idea: You're essentially creating a crayon license. If you modify the terms of ...
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  • 8,700
22 votes
Accepted

How to use MIT license in a project?

The MIT license is so simple, you should be able to find the answer to your questions by just reading it. It has only one requirement: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be ...
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  • 5,257
21 votes
Accepted

Quoting GPL licensed text in presentation slides

The Berne Convention on copyright specifies the Right to Quote as an exception to copyright. Article 10 (1) It shall be permissible to make quotations from a work which has already been lawfully made ...
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20 votes
Accepted

Derivatives and Forks... Is there a difference?

What's the difference? Is there a difference at all? The obvious difference is that "derivative (work)" is a legal term, and "fork" is a software term. For example, the musical and motion picture "...
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  • 8,645
20 votes

GPL - Does "internal use" apply for a public gameserver?

On one hand the "modified version" is clearly "release[d] to the public in some way" to the "program's users" (i.e. the players), however on the other hand it is kept as an "internal" tool. This is ...
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19 votes
Accepted

Can I sell my MIT-licensed software if it is modified by others?

Depending on how they chose to provide their fork, yes. The MIT license, which you chose to license your work under, doesn't prevent anyone downstream from changing the license, nor from changing the ...
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  • 8,700
19 votes
Accepted

Does the CC-BY-SA License require that source code of derivative works be shared?

Yes, they can publish a PDF without publishing the modified LaTeX sources. No, this is not DRM. CC-BY-SA is not an open-source license. It is intended for creative works such as photographs or ...
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  • 33.2k
19 votes

Since some software is open source, can you add a feature you created and use it for your own personal use?

The freedom to modify a piece of software is an essential open-source freedom covered by any open-source license, specifically the MIT License which VSCode is licensed under. In other words - you most ...
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  • 3,767
18 votes
Accepted

Borrowing ideas rather than code from open source projects

If you have not copied the code directly, this sort of thing is usually OK, and exempt from copyright laws. Specifically, mathematical formulae, ideas, inventions, recipes and facts cannot be ...
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16 votes

What are the arguments for considering dynamic links not to constitute derivative works?

While the position of the FSF about the interpretation of the GPL is clear, a few people have opposed this position. Linus' position that is cited in the OP is, that all combined parts must be ...
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  • 10.8k
15 votes
Accepted

Is the output of an open source program licensed the same?

In general, the license of the software used to create a file doesn't have any influence on the possible licenses you can distribute that file under. For example, if you use Microsoft Word to write ...
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14 votes

What are the arguments for considering dynamic links not to constitute derivative works?

This pair of questions (whether dynamic linking creates a derivative or not) is really a false dichotomy. I think Linus Torvalds is spot on when he says (quoted in the question): So "linking" ...
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  • 8,645
14 votes

Is the code generated from a GPLv3 EBNF grammar a derivative work?

The code is a derived work of the grammar. (but not of ANTLR) The Grammar file is a description of how to parse the language, written in EBNF. The source code generated by ANTLR etc is a description ...
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13 votes

Appropriate licence for later merging back

I want to provide a commercial license for somebody who is willing to pay on top of open source one (LGPL allows it, right?) As a copyright holder you always have the option to dual license your ...
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13 votes

Is it allowed to dynamically link a GPL licensed library for commercial use?

The jury is still out on this one. The traditional interpretation, and the one intended by the Free Software Foundation(FSF, publishers of the GPL), is that no, you can't do this. This position seems ...
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  • 8,986
13 votes
Accepted

Can derivatives of CC BY-SA works be licensed under CC BY-NC-SA?

No, it’s not allowed. It says on the license summary page: No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the ...
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  • 5,300
13 votes

Someone open-sourced an un-open-source project

The Project_A is a decompiled version of another project (Project_B). But the original Project_B is not open source, AND Project_B never granted Person_A permission to open source the project. You ...
user avatar
12 votes

Do I have to release my code as GPL when a Java Library is GPL

Yes, your program must also be GPL. GPL is quite clear on this matter: if your program links to a GPL library, no matter the type of linking, then your program also comes under the GPL (when you ...
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  • 8,455
12 votes

Can I sell my MIT-licensed software if it is modified by others?

Yes, provided they license their improvements under MIT or another free/libre license. Please note that MIT (Expat) is a permissive license, so the fork may no longer be free/libre software - the ...
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  • 8,645
12 votes

Is requiring a license a violation of the GPL? Can I get around it?

In theory, you have the right to get the complete source of that modified GCC. But no one can enforce your receipt of the source. The 'perpetrator' always has the legal choice to stop distributing, ...
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  • 758
12 votes

Recourse for forks ignoring open source license on original code in App Store?

It certainly sucks when people take your work and use it in ways against your permission, like copying your copyleft work without also sharing their changes. Fortunately you don't have to go straight ...
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  • 8,455
12 votes

Theseus' Paradox applied to code copyright

In the United States, a determination of copyright infringement is based on two broad considerations: the author's access to the original work the new work's similarity to the original work If you ...
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  • 30.9k
12 votes
Accepted

Is ripping off an open source library okay?

Generally, a fork done without consultation of the original project (and without the intent to merge change back upstream eventually) is called a "hostile fork". Performing a hostile fork is -- as its ...
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  • 30.9k
12 votes
Accepted

Can I fork and modify gpl3 licensed code and release it with Apache v2 license?

If I fork a library that uses the GPL3 license and heavily modify it, can I then release the new library with an ApacheV2 license No, you may not. Your library is still, by your own admission, a ...
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  • 37.8k
11 votes
Accepted

Are there examples of proprietary software that functionally depends on free software?

I'll use Steam as an example. Steam is Valve Software's platform for hosting games (and movies etc.); it is itself proprietary. Initially it was Windows-only, but in the last few years it has been ...
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  • 3,983

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