Hot answers tagged

93

When talking about BSD license, you have to be aware that there is not one, but actually four different BSD licenses. The most basic is the zero-clause BSD license which is a public domain license which doesn't even require attribution: Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted. ...


52

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 ...


41

You may charge money for distributing free (as-in-freedom) software. However, if your license is a true FSF-approved free license, then charging based on purpose isn't so much a license violation as it is a nonsensical thing to do. Because the license provides the freedom to use it for any purpose, a buyer can trivially express a desire to use your ...


40

International trademarks can be searched online in the WIPO Global Brand Database. “open source” is trademarked in some areas, none relevant for software OSI holds a US trademark for “Open Source Initiative Approved License”, but no trademark for “open source” by itself So from a legal perspective, anyone could use this term. But from an open source ...


27

The OSI failed to secure a trademark on "open source" in 1999, and the term remains not trademarked. You may use "open source" to mean virtually anything you want, without legal ramifications, but to use it in a way that contravenes the OSI's definition may put you at significant social disadvantage with anyone who enjoys the culturally consistent ...


21

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 ...


19

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 ...


14

The main problem you will be having is with the freedom to redistribute copies (freedom 2 and 3). The GNU project codifies this freedom in GPL clarifying it's exact meaning: You are free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (...


10

The GNU Philosophy says: “Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. It says there that the price of the software does not matter in any situation. As ...


9

The MIT license is very permissive; you are allowed to release your own work under a different license if it was based on something released under the MIT license. See also this answer on Software Engineering SE and the plain English explanation of the MIT license (link also provided in the linked answer). As indicated in the plain English explanation, you ...


8

The practice of selling exceptions to the GPL is perfectly commonplace, but you must either be the sole copyright holder, or else have prior permission from all other copyright holders. In order to achieve the latter, you must have other contributors agree to a contributor licensing agreement (CLA) that allows you, specifically, to offer that contributor's ...


8

It is unfortunately fairly common for companies to overstate the restrictions of the AGPL. But as the AGPL states, additional restrictions can be removed. This answer is primarily based on the GPLv3 CommunityServer license you linked. But aside from the GPLv3 vs AGPLv3 point, the analysis is identical for the AGPLv3-covered DocumentServer which contains the ...


8

Yes, both the MIT and GPL licenses are open source licenses (as defined by the Open Source Definition), so you can use them for any purpose, including commercially. If jszip and thus excel4node are using a GPL component, then you would have to comply with the terms of the GPL which basically means making your source code available if you are distributing ...


7

The product seems to comprise two elements: the API Gateway, and the Dashboard/Portal, which is a web-based management interface for your API Gateways. According to their front page: The Tyk Open Source API Gateway has no restrictions and is Open Source in the truest sense of the world. Tyk Dashboard and portal is free for developers, nothing is ...


7

I must admit that the phrasing of the question is a bit unclear, at least to me. I am assuming you meant something in the spirit of "Can I use a license that isn't listed on choosealicense.com, and thus isn't recognized by GitHub, when I host my project there?" If my understanding of the question is correct, the answer would be a resounding yes. As the ...


6

If I understand correctly, what you're concerned about is that other people will take your free software, change it in a way that makes it unreliable, and either convey it or provide it as a service to unsuspecting end-users who then assume it works just like the software they know you wrote. This is a question of brand identity, scientific implications ...


6

I think I read somewhere that if you modify the source of a software enough, you become the owner ("author") of that source. First I'd like to make sure that this is correct. It isn't. If you make enough changes to a copyrighted work to yourself qualify for copyright protection, then both you and the original rightsholder now have a copyright ...


6

A couple of things were not mentioned in the accepted answer: documentation associated with the software community adoption BSD-2-Clause Plus Patent aka "BSD+Patent" Documentation Another difference between the BSD licenses and the MIT license is how they deal with the meaning of "software". MIT applies to the documentation associated with the software, ...


6

In general, no: once you've published your idea (whether as open source or not), it becomes part of the "prior art" and is no longer eligible to be patented. Patents are for innovation, and almost by definition something can't be innovative if it's just taking someone else's idea.


6

Technically you still have free software, but such a business model by itself is questionable. If your product is an end-user application, this is unlikely to work as a pricing model. Anyone who obtained a copy for free can post it online, so that commercial users can get it for free. If you put an addition term that prevents such distribution, then you no ...


5

If the MIT license has been modified, that is no longer the MIT license but some custom license. Using such a custom license may or may not be fine, although terms that limit its use might no longer be open source. It is perfectly fine though to modify the MIT license. The MIT license text is not protected in any way. It is also possible to distribute MIT-...


5

There is no Open Source licence. see extract from definition https://opensource.org/osd Derived Works The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software. However did you know that this does not mean that people have permission to edit your ...


5

Github's ToS codify the inbound=outbound license principle: contributions to a repository can be assumed to be under the repository's license. However: The repository needs to have an obvious license. The user must have intended for their contributions to be included into the repository, for example by creating a pull request and/or uploading their changes ...


5

That would be a resounding "no". The licensing of any data file protected by copyright is completely up to the copyright's author, and he or she may bot may not choose to license these files under some permissive license. The fact that the tool used to download it was licensed under some particular license is completely inconsequential.


5

Besides the trademark protection that is explained in the answer from @MadHatter, the (A)GPL license also allows you to place certain additional terms. One of those allowed additional terms is c) Prohibiting misrepresentation of the origin of that material, or requiring that modified versions of such material be marked in reasonable ways as different ...


5

If I use a compiled program [...] which is under a license that everyone has the rights to use and sell (Eg: GPL) [...] and then I want to develop an extended feature for it [...] to be sold for money, to be available only to the person that paid for this premium feature - Must I release this premium feature also as GPL? If your work is a derivative of the ...


5

Legally, as the sole copyright holder you can apply any license any time and even in retrospect. You cannot withdraw the license given to people previously, though; the latter means if you published under GPL and handed out the source, that person can henceforth distribute the source in perpetuity provided the person obeys the license given. The two ...


5

First, the conditions on GitHub might forbid you doing what you want (unless you pay them). See of course also this. Second, you need to pay a lawyer to write your own license. AFAIK, the CECILL license required more than a full time year of work to several lawyers. Law is as difficult as programming (and perhaps even more). Then, if you invent your ...


4

Do not invent your own copyright notices, just use the one displayed by the software in question. This would typically be what you refer to as the “build year”. When writing a copyright notice, the year should be the year of publication for this version – neither the current year, nor the year of writing. For some aspects of copyright, the year of first ...


4

Firstly, welcome to OpenSource.SE, and thanks for a very nicely-written first question. I'm aware that not everyone likes it, but it gets a +1 from me. Your basic problem is that free licences are incompatible with restrictions on commercial use. The issue is discussed here, in other OS.SE questions, and in the GPL FAQ, but it boils down to the idea that ...


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