33

IANAL/IANYL. That said, the FSF, who are generally thought of as arguing for a fairly wide interpretation of what the GPL covers, are reasonably clear that the proprietary program and the GPL wrapper program in your example are not derivative works of each other, and their appearance together is mere aggregation: By contrast, [...] command-line arguments ...


31

ArtOfCode's answer correctly describes Carol's situation relative to Alice's code: violation of Alice's original license (which is not the GPL) and therefore infringement of Alice's copyright. The terms of the GPL are not relevant except in that they are incompatible with Alice's license. However, Bob's code is originally licensed under the GPL, and the ...


26

Source available is a common term used to describe such licenses.


24

I have done a thorough IP review on my own project in 2007. You can find some info about this project in this slide deck: Startup Legal and IP. I encountered many situations that are similar to what you describe, although none of them were "criminal." These are some examples. Example 1: code that was proprietary to SUN, later open source by SUN under a ...


23

Yes, and no. As per the question you linked, if you're the only contributor, you can do whatever you want with the project. You can take it off GitHub or whatever platform you decided, you can compile and sell it, and whatnot. However You cannot do that if you aren't the sole contributor. You are no longer the only rights holder, and thus, the decision ...


23

Yes, you can distribute your software without making the source code public and without giving recipients the right to make changes to your software. The LGPL license explicitly allows such usages of libraries/packages released under that license. When using an LGPL library/package like PySide2, your obligations are to allow and make it possible that ...


19

Do you customers have any right to modify the source they've been given? Do they have the right to distribute the code without your permission? Do they have the right to distribute modified versions of your code? All of those would be allowed under the GPL, but aren't under a proprietary license. Open source is not just about the ability to use the code, it'...


17

Linux (the Kernel) uses the GPL 2.0 with an extra statement: NOTE! This copyright does not cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does not fall under the heading of "derived work". Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, ...


16

If Amazon writes the code, they can release it under any licence(s) they choose, including fully-free and fully-proprietary licences, or not release it at all. The cognitive disconnect here is that you've looked at the licence, seen that it has a lot of the "dress and feel" of free licences, decided that the software must therefore be free, and are then ...


16

You've already got the answer that LGPL libraries can be used in commercial software. So far, so good. There's more to this than meets the eye, though. The thing is, PySide2 is for using the Qt framework with Python programs. Besides the LGPL license for PySide2, you'll have to make sure that you comply with the Qt licensing terms. The Qt licensing ...


14

Much would depend on the initial license chosen when creating the OS project. If the OSP was originally published under a copyleft license such as GPL, then the answer is clearly no. They can not continue development under a more restrictive license without violating the terms of the original license. A permissive license, such as Apache, allows the ...


13

Carol hasn't violated the GPL, she's violated Alice's copyright and in doing so invalidated her use of the GPL. In simple terms, because Alice's code wasn't Carol's to release, she can't apply the GPL to it. There is no violation of the GPL, because it never applied to Alice's code in the first place. As to why companies don't do this, it's because it's ...


13

The answer is, it depends. If you are introducing the wrapper just to try to avoid the obligations of the GPL, there's a good chance it's not legal. Whether two works are derivative works of each other depends not on the technical aspects of how they communicate, but the creative elements of how they are used. The FSF has this to say in the GNU FAQ, ...


12

Probably not a Politically Correct answer for this site but ... JUST SAY NO Of course that isn't going to be enough for your customers, you need to present a good business case for them to continue using you even if it's not open source. Consider why the customers might be asking: They are afraid you will go out of business, and they will be left with a ...


12

It depends on the license, and also somewhat on the country. For the BSD and MIT licenses, this is a friendly yes. Your "derivative work" contains a separate copyright interest from the original and those licenses did not place any requirements on your copyright interest. These are called non-copyleft licenses. They basically say "to use this software, you ...


12

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 must also distribute it with a copy of the license including the original copyright notices. Failure to do so is "stealing" or more technically a copyright ...


12

What you describe is usually called freeware. The FSF does not consider freeware to be free software, considering it to be proprietary software, and asks people not to call free software freeware. So such a software package would not be permitted in the Ubuntu universe repository.


11

Technically yes, but practically no. Technically yes - if you're the sole contributor, or you can get agreement with your co-contributors, you can do anything you like. It doesn't matter how you've distributed the software before: the original copyright is yours (or a group's and you have permission to act for that group) and you have permanent rights to do ...


11

Yes indeed, as the sole author (copyright owner) of a library, you are not bound by the terms you choose to license it to the general public. Thus you can use it in your own proprietary programs. This is also why you can dual-license, re-license the work or sell commercial licenses. Now, you must be very careful that you really are the sole copyright ...


11

BSD-3 clause is a very permissive license that does not require you disclosing your source code or the source code of the open source libraries. You are not required to allow your users to re-distribute the binaries either. You are required to display any copyright statements from the BSD licensed libraries, and you are required to display the BSD license ...


11

MongoDB requires contributors to sign a contributor agreement where they have to waive all rights so that MongoDB can license the code subsequently under whatever license they see fit. That includes non-free licenses which allows them to sell proprietary extensions which would otherwise be in violation of the GPL, if they had to abide by it.


10

Theoretically, all that needs to be done to make a previously closed source project open source is to put the sourcecode online with an OSI or FSF approved license of your choice attached. However, before you publish your sourcecode, a few things should be checked: Have you read and understood the license and checked it with your legal department? It is ...


10

Can you share more detail about what your customers really want when they ask if your product can be more open source? There are various open source strategies and depending on what your customers are asking for some may be mutually beneficial. Open code, Restrictive license: It is possible to share source code while keeping that code licensed under a ...


10

Law is complicated and varies by jurisdiction. In the United States (and probably many other jurisdictions), a court generally cannot compel you to release your source code simply because you did not abide by the terms of a copyleft copyright license. In this situation, you have committed copyright infringement (based on the facts you've presented), but the ...


9

If you do not know where your code came from (you did not write it, or you did not buy or license it), then there is no way for you to know its heritage. As a result, you cannot then open source it. There is no way that I know of to analyse the code, and determine it's heritage unless you have already pre-analysed the code it may have come from (i.e. you ...


9

Copyright and open source are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most open-source licenses depend on copyright in order to function properly. The GPL comes most readily to mind: you couldn't enforce the requirement to share-alike if copyright didn't let the author decide who may or may not copy the work. But even something as simple as an MIT-style attribution ...


9

Unless I've completely misunderstood the question, that would be violating two of the Creative Commons license's restrictions: That it can only be used in non-commercial contexts That any derivative works be licensed under the same license I really don't know how you thought you could use CharacterController2D in a commercial closed-source app! That's the ...


9

Their Open Source Definition doesn't mention "proprietary software" explicitly, but their requirements for calling something "open source" seem to preclude any proprietary software from calling itself "open source": 1. Free Redistribution The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an ...


8

Han never had copyright on the code. He was unable to license it to anybody. He claimed he gave people a license anyway, but this wasn't true, since he couldn't. All derivative works who thought they had a license to do what they were doing, didn't have a license to do so at all. Han said he gave them a license to the work, but he was lying. The copyright ...


8

Perhaps this wasn't your intention in the hypothetical, but copyright doesn't really enter the picture here. That is, it's not the glass itself that is under copyright, it's the glass design. Recall that copyright gives authors exclusive rights on the reproduction and distribution of creative works. Once those glasses have been sold to you (i.e. a transfer ...


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