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55 votes
Accepted

Can I ignore an open source license if I checkout a version that was released prior to the code having any license?

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 ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
47 votes
Accepted

Can an NDA block GPL freedom number 4?

The FSF believes, in the jurisdictions they have considered, that the transfer of GPL-licensed software by an employer to an employee, for the fulfillment of their responsibilities as an agent of the ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
41 votes

Is the term 'open source' a trademark?

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 ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
41 votes

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

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 ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
37 votes

Is the TeX typesetting system free and open source?

TeX was created before Open Source was formally defined. Its use is not restricted; it is stated explicitly in Knuth's writings that its methods and algorithms may be used freely for any purpose, ...
barbara beeton's user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components?

No Open Source license does that. Even the GNU GPL license allows one program to interact with another non-free program via pipes, sockets, streams etc. While the licenses can't do this, there are ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
34 votes

Can I disregard GPL just because I use autoconf?

The exception says that “you may include it”, where it is the build scripts generated by autoconf. This is not a broad GPL exception that would apply to any GPL-licensed software. The autotools ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
29 votes

Is the term 'open source' a trademark?

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 ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
29 votes

What are the essential differences between the BSD and MIT licences?

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 ...
N. Gimenez's user avatar
29 votes

Is there a license that prevents someone from copying the entirety of the source code and claiming it as their own or using it with ill intent?

I don't want people copying all of my source code and claiming it as their own work Any open source license will do this; even the most "bare bones" licenses (MIT, 2 clause BSD etc) require ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Is the TeX typesetting system free and open source?

Yes, it is open source, at least according to the Open Source Definition, the closest thing the community has to an agreed definition of open source. The clause that allows this is Clause 4: ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Is it possible that a future GPL version removes copyleft?

The crucial statement there is "terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation". So yes, if the FSF should decide that a future version of the GPL ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
25 votes

Trying to understand an old custom license

This is not a license, as it grants no rights. By default all works are copyrighted and their allowed use is limited unless the rights owner gives you further permissions. Licenses grant further ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 685
24 votes

Can I ignore an open source license if I checkout a version that was released prior to the code having any license?

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 - ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
22 votes

Is it possible that a future GPL version removes copyleft?

If code is licensed strictly under a specific version of the GNU GPL, future versions have no effect for that specifically-licensed code. For code that is licensed under "version 3 or any later ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
21 votes

Can I ignore an open source license if I checkout a version that was released prior to the code having any license?

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 ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,165
20 votes
Accepted

Trying to understand an old custom license

For (1), the only answer is "nobody knows" (apart from possibly the person who wrote the license). Given that, I would therefore be conservative and assume that it is a mandatory requirement....
Philip Kendall's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

What is the license of Mojo🔥?

It seems that as of today, 2023-05-09, the only way to "use" Mojo is via the developer's playground: The Mojo standard library, compiler, and runtime are not available for local development ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

Can I remove payment requirement part of a MIT licensed library

In copyright terms, you can make any changes you like to MIT licensed software so long as you ensure that The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
18 votes

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components?

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components? Unfortunately, a license cannot do that. Here's the ...
Stephen C's user avatar
  • 441
17 votes

Is requiring a link to my site allowed for a FOSS license?

The idea to force users of the software to advertise the original author is not new. It was first seen in the 4-clause BSD License. There was a lot of criticism about the advertising clause, and it ...
Martin_in_AUT's user avatar
17 votes

How can I protect the code from being 'rephrased' by AI to avoid license limitations?

I'm not sure anything needs to be done. Historically, the creation of a translation of a copyrighted work required the permission of the rightsholder. Others have argued that a machine translation ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
15 votes
Accepted

Should I use my own license in a fork of another GitHub repository, which I've revamped completely?

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 ...
Arc676's user avatar
  • 371
14 votes

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

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 ...
slebetman's user avatar
  • 739
14 votes

Does a copyright notice in a file header affect the licensing?

A "license" simply means legal permission to do something from a rightsholder. The relevant question is: if the rightsholder sued you for exercising some right (e.g., copying or modifying ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
14 votes
Accepted

Is CC-BY 4.0 attribution recursive?

I assume that by "Author B uses Work A to create Work B" you mean that Author B makes work B which is a copyright derivative of work A. Work C, then, is then a copyright derivative of both ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
13 votes
Accepted

Is requiring a link to my site allowed for a FOSS license?

Let's break down this question in parts and start with the FOSS licenses common ground. The common things about FOSS licenses are that one is required to keep the copyright notices of previous ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
13 votes
Accepted

How does GPL differ from CC BY-NC-SA?

CC BY-NC-SA is a copyleft-style licence (the "SA" bit), but there exist many other copyleft licences besides CC BY-NC-SA. The GPL is pretty clear that selling GPL-covered code is ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
13 votes
Accepted

Does Licensing open-source prevent me from selling the product?

Yes, it is entirely legal to make money with open-source software. You are allowed to sell copies of open-source software, but that is not likely to create a sustainable business, because each ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
12 votes

Trying to understand an old custom license

In a corporate environment I would advise my colleagues not to use this code for the reason that it is an unconventional license and the legal interpretation is not clear. This would even be in case ...
Martin_in_AUT's user avatar

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