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47 votes
Accepted

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

The Free Software Foundation thinks not. From the GPL FAQ: If someone steals a CD containing a version of a GPL-covered program, does the GPL give the thief the right to redistribute that version? ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 5,367
41 votes
Accepted

Can I make my own license?

Don't do this. We already have an excellent Q&A on why you shouldn't use a crayon licence, and I strongly recommend you read it. You can achieve most of what you want with existing licences, and ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
36 votes
Accepted

Embedding GPL code in proprietary software

When your code contains (or links to) GPL licensed code, then the GPL license requires that you distribute your application under the GPL license. The GPL does not require that you distribute your ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
34 votes

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

The usual caveat: IANAL/IANYL. That said, a statement of intent is not usually considered a binding undertaking, and stolen goods are stolen goods. A licence does not inhere in software, it is ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
29 votes

Am I legally obliged to honor requests made outside the license file?

No, this is not a legally binding requirement. The pdf.js authors are absolutely aware of this which is why it is phrased as a request, not a requirement. In this context, downstream authors are being ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

MariaDB: How can the license being held by a foundation forbid Oracle from buying MariaDB?

How can the license being held by the foundation forbid Oracle from buying the Whole Entity ? Because it's not for sale. This from the foundation's Certificate of Incorporation: FOURTH: The ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
23 votes
Accepted

Legal wording to exempt bug fixes to open-source framework from NDA?

To a very real extent, this is always going to depend on there being good faith between the parties. If working with someone I knew and trusted, I'd be happy with a clause along the lines of Fixes ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
20 votes

Is there a good license for a libertarian programmer who's against intellectual property?

Anyone may use the software for any purpose they choose ... However, no one may place any type of restrictions on my software Your basic problem is that these are self-contradictory aims. In the ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
20 votes

Why does the GPL not specify a jurisdiction or choice of law clause?

It is unusual for general-purpose open source licenses to have a choice of law clause. One example I am aware of is the EUPL 1.2: 15. Applicable Law Without prejudice to specific agreement between ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
18 votes
Accepted

How much of a given work of software can be claimed under fair use?

Fair use is not a right that you have, but it is a way to defend yourself against a claim of copyright infringement. In the end, it is a judge who decides if your use of the copyrighted work falls ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
16 votes

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

I think the problem here is at a more fundamental level than the GPL. The GPL does not force you to publish your code under the GPL. It is still the right of the copyright holder to decide whether ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
16 votes
Accepted

Why GitHub is not opensource when it's use Git that has GPLv2 license?

The GPL does not forbid you from using GPL'ed software. It requires something far more specific: if you modify the GPL'ed software and publish your modifications, then you can only publish under the ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
16 votes

If you distribute GPL-code as non-GPL, can the receiver redistribute it as GPL?

GPLv2 is clear about this: I have to release the whole program as GPLv2 if I want to distribute it. That would be the FSF's position, at least. It is clear that if I don't, I am subject to lawsuits ...
John Bollinger's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

Hypothetical conflict - incorrectly licensed code

You are right in your assessment: Widget Tech has a problem as it will need to replace the illegally-used library with something else. It may not be eligible for damages if you cease to do so ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
16 votes
Accepted

How do I deal with authorship after a fork?

You have forked a GPLv2 package, and created a derivative work therefrom. You are curious about the licensing and copyright arrangements for the new work. Fortunately, neither of these are in any ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
16 votes

"Pure Copyleft" Software Licenses? (with no additional restrictions)

I don't think you'll square this circle. You write The problem I have with the GPLv3 and AGPL license is how they restrict the intermediate users, while the problem I have with the MIT license is ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
15 votes
Accepted

Why does the GPL not specify a jurisdiction or choice of law clause?

A direct answer as given by FSF: Some have asked us to address the difficulties of internationalization by including, or permitting the inclusion of, a choice of law provision. We maintain that this ...
Daniel Hatton's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

"Pure Copyleft" Software Licenses? (with no additional restrictions)

I think another answer has done a good job articulating some philosophical incompatibilities in your requirements. I won't retread those concerns, but I'll make a feasible suggestion that might come ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
14 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 ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
14 votes
Accepted

If a project only includes a copy of the GPL, can it be relicensed under any version?

Your hunch of "no" seems correct to me. The GPL FAQ has this to say about standalone copies of the GPL without an explicit license grant: Is it enough just to put a copy of the GNU GPL in ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
13 votes

Is using MIT-licensed code in non-open source code considered stealing?

For all software libraries, copyright law applies, and you must read and follow the license in order to use it legally. For a MIT licensed code library, if you distribute the resulting package, you ...
Neil Slater's user avatar
13 votes

Embedding GPL code in proprietary software

If you distribute your propriatiery code combined with GPL licensed code without following the GPL rules, then you commit copyright infringement, and the copyright holder or copyright holders of the ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 1,265
12 votes
Accepted

Telemetry in open source software?

Software is considered "open source"1 as long as it satisfies at least one of the widely-accepted definitions, like OSD, FSD, DFSG etc. It's possible for a piece of software to both spy on its users / ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,939
12 votes
Accepted

What is the purpose of "or (at your option) any later version"? What if I don't want this?

You are correct to note that “or (at your option) any later version” is a double-edged sword. If you license code under such a clause, you are placing a lot of trust in the Free Software Foundation ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
12 votes
Accepted

Right to launch an application with FOSS license

Both the Free Software and Open Source definitions include the freedom to run programs for any purpose: Free Software Definition: The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Proprietary Software + GPL: A case study with OctaneRender and Blender

Your question already contains the relevant analysis, and without knowing details about their protocol there's nothing to add here. So this is a case where the software could be compliant, and is not ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
12 votes

Can I make my own license?

If you are an Operating System Developer, you can also choose Apache. I'm an operating system developer. If I use your software, I will choose Apache. The problem is that one of the rights that I ...
David Schwartz's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Theseus' Paradox applied to code copyright

The license used, is actually completely irrelevant. The question lies purely in copyright. What you need to figure out, is whether your changes will constitute a derivative work. Derivative work ...
Zizouz212's user avatar
  • 6,469
11 votes
Accepted

Who owns the copyright to code which the author was paid to write?

This question touches a lot of different copyright issues; here's the basic overview (under US law) followed by how I think it applies: (1) The author owns the copyright. If it's a work made for ...
TroublesomeQuarry's user avatar

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