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111

Your question concerns a case where Author A publishes original work under the GNU GPL, and then Person B uploads it to GitHub. You ask whether it would be possible for the transaction between Person B and GitHub to affect the ownership of copyright title to the work by Author A. Simply put: no. Person B does not have standing to perform a transfer of title ...


87

If a repository has no license, then all rights are reserved and it is not Open Source or Free. You cannot modify or redistribute this code without explicit permission from the copyright holder. I'm unsure of the legal implications of actually pulling the source local and building/using the software privately though. Perhaps someone else can chime in on ...


64

First of all, these two statements are made in sequence, not parallel (credit to MSalters for crystallizing this point): Generally speaking, the absence of a license means that the default copyright laws apply. ...if you publish your source code in a public repository on GitHub... you allow others to view and fork your repository. The first ...


58

APSillers' answer is excellent, but I'd add one thing: although by licensing under the GPL you gave permission to anyone to redistribute your code, you by the same mechanism required that such redistribution be under the relevant version of the GPL. If this github repository isn't clearly GPL'ed, then a copyright violation is occurring, and you as the ...


49

Generally speaking, a licence grant is not revocable once it has been relied on. Once an author has published a piece of code under a licence, and someone has taken a copy on that basis, the author cannot retrospectively revoke that licence. If that licence permitted the recipient to make further copies, as free licences do, then you can get a copy from ...


46

Show the site is safe and will not infect our computers It's not "safe". GitHub allows anonymous users to upload anything they want including malware. You could get infected by downloading/executing code or visiting anything on the "github.io" domain where arbitrary javascript (and therefore 0-day browser exploits) might be found (github.com is safer ...


37

Personally, I've used a self-star as a tiebreaker to call out better projects. If two of my projects both have N stars, and I think one is clearly better than the other, I'll star it so that it ranks over the other one in my profile page. This is especially important if I have many zero-star repositories, because some of them may not appear on my profile ...


26

Once you have Open Sourced some code other people can, and probably will, place it on other hosting services and there have been many times when everybody has been grateful for this because the original maintainer has moved on, lost interest or otherwise stopped maintaining the code and their original hosting has stopped. If you find an out of date copy of ...


25

There are a number of options, and I've had to do this in the past for real. But beware - you could end up a new committer for the project. The most straightforward is to pull the project owner's email address from the git log and send them a polite email asking about the status of the project. In my case, I found there was a mailing list where the project ...


24

There is no longer any need to guess the meaning from GitHub's Terms of Service. GitHub explains it themselves pretty well on their own choosealicense.com website: If you find software that doesn’t have a license, that generally means you have no permission from the creators of the software to use, modify, or share the software. Although a code host such ...


22

There is a giant problem with the logic behind this fuss. Storing the source code of malware is not strongly correlated with being infected with malware. Consider http://www.metasploit.com/. It's a tool used by people protecting against intrusion -- and also by people looking to perform intrusion. Or any number of other resources used by people who study ...


21

No, GitHub allows releases with different licenses. If you do not choose one, it is the usual basic assumption: all rights reserved. This is however overlayed by the terms of service you (implicitly or explicitly) accepted by using the site and creating an account. In the case of Github it allows others to view and fork your project: However, by setting ...


21

There is, as far as I know, currently no way to mark an issue as a security issue. That makes reporting a security issue including full details on GitHub effectively a full disclosure strategy. Different people support different ways of disclosure of security issues, and full disclosure is a valid choice. However, if you don't want to go the full ...


21

Bob wrote a GPL-licensed media player that I really liked, FooPlayer v1.0. Then Bob "updated" FooPlayer to 2.0 and decided to put ads in the software. He stopped offering the original 1.0 altogether. I didn't like that, so I found an old copy of 1.0 I had downloaded last year and uploaded it to GitHub. What part of this process do you want to prevent? What ...


19

Since you have never looked at the source code, and ONLY looked at: The API The no-code very high-level description of the synchronization algorithm then you are free to release your implementation under any license you want. Just like SAMBA checked the API and algorithms of CIFS and released their software under the license they wanted. Or at least, ...


18

FSF has published an answer now: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/do-githubs-updated-terms-of-service-conflict-with-copyleft It begins: GitHub's updated terms caused a great deal of concern, but while they are confusing, they do not appear to be incompatible with copyleft. The Free Software Foundation (FSF), though, still recommends using other code ...


18

With licenses it is actually quite simple: No license means no rights to you to even use the code for whatever purpose. Code being available somewhere for download doesn't imply any right to use it - similar as you don't have the right to harvest a field, just because you can enter it from the street. If there is a license that specifies the conditions ...


17

If there are "many long-open issues and pull requests, and nothing is changing" then you don't need to ask - it's just assume the project is not being maintained. Open issues aren't an indicator, maybe the project maintainers don't think they're as important as the person who opened the issue. Especially with popular projects, the issue tracker will often ...


17

There's two steps to answering this question: Is there actually a credible legal issue here? Is that legal issue going to be a practical impediment to open source code on Github? Is there really a legal issue here? What is it? The issue described here is that if Bob posts Alice's open source code to Github, Github requires specific rights to the code that ...


17

Short answer: Probably not a violation. Long answer (using the relevant part from GPL - since you did not specify the version): You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and ...


16

You should (github) fork when: You intend on submitting pull requests back upstream. The maintainer doesn't like your new feature set, so you decide to add them anyway, and maintain the fork in parallel, routinely merging in changes from upstream as an alternative to the main branch. (Note that you may be required to change the name due to trademark ...


16

You have a misconception here. You're thinking that licenses take away your right to use a piece of code. In fact, licenses give you the right to use a piece of code. If there's no license, you can't use it. The exception is fair use: if you want to use the code in a way which is fair use, then that is permitted, whether or not there's a license. But if you ...


15

Note that when the starring feature was introduced on GitHub in August 2012, they converted all of your watches to stars during the initial migration. As you are automatically added to watchers to your own repository, this meant any repository you've created prior to this change would appear as starred for you. For me this migration choice means that it's ...


14

Well, you actually give up a few rights by accepting the terms of service. The terms of service declare: However, by setting your pages to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view your Content. By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and fork your repositories. So effectively you don't have ...


14

When you put code on GitHub, you retain all the copyright to your code. However, you do grant GitHub a license to host the code, and you also allow GitHub users a set of rights - namely the ability to look at, and fork your repository. These are terms that you have accepted when accepting their Terms of Service when creating a GitHub account. Even when you ...


14

That's a tricky question for the maintainers / core devs to answer and there cannot be "the one correct answer" as it depends highly on how that particular community works and how the people talk to each other. Factors to consider are the type of contribution (bug fix, feature extension, new feature), quality of the contributions, the need and urgency to ...


13

In a way you are already moving forward with help from the community; that's what those pull requests are. In addition to pull-requests, you have other tools at your fingertips The project wiki Which you may or may not have enabled. Like any wiki, this can double as a way for you to make announcements (publish guidelines for contributions, etc to your ...


13

Closing them on sight should give a clear signal that asking in the wrong places is not appreciated. From there, it is possible to guide the users making an honest effort to look in the contributing.md file.


12

Forking and starting your own repo and submitting a PR to the current repo are not mutually exclusive. You could do both and decide which branch to keep working on based on the action or inaction of those who have been involved in the past. I think public communication would be preferable. Since there has been no activity in 2-3 years, your public ...


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