MadHatter
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Is it wrong to demand features in open-source projects?
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100 votes

Suppose that I tell you that I require you to cease posting here, immediately come round to my house, and cook me lunch. Your first response might, very reasonably, be "who on earth is this ...

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If someone else uploads my GPL'd code to Github without my permission, do they not put it at risk of being stolen by Microsoft?
59 votes

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 ...

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

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 ...

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Do I have to change license of fork if mainstream changes license?
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52 votes

Not only are you not required to change the licence, you are not permitted to. The code you took at the time was, according to you, conveyed under GPLv3. You've worked on it, and made a derivative ...

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Can I modify an open source license to require that I be notified?
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47 votes

I cannot say whether this would be considered open source, but it would not be free software. Free software confers, amongst other things, the right to modify the software; the FSF refer to this as ...

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Relicensing content under CC-BY-SA
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45 votes

I don't think so, no. CC-BY-SA 3.0 allows in s4 that You may Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work only under the terms of this License ... This Section ... applies to the Work as incorporated ...

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Can I publish a GPL source I'm being paid for to develop?
43 votes

So it seems that you're doing this as a piece of contract work, not under employment rules, so the issue of work-for-hire probably doesn't enter into it. The rules about what you can publish and when ...

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Why is there no public domain licensing in Europe?
39 votes

With respect to my colleague planetmaker, public domain is not a US-specific concept. It dates back to the first copyright law in the world, Britain's 1710 Statute of Anne, where it was referred to ...

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Is it legal to use GPL code in a proprietary, closed-source program by putting it in a separate, standalone program?
39 votes

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 ...

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Can there be a copyright on negative code?
36 votes

For me, this exposes a weakness in the mental model many coders seem to have about the operation of copyright. Consider a pile of bricks, representing code contributions to a work. In one (...

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

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 ...

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Can someone re-license my BSD-3-licensed project under the MIT license, remove my copyright notices, and list me as a "collaborator" without consent
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31 votes

The 3BSD licence requires (in clause 1) that your copyright notices be preserved, and that some licence text be reproduced, whenever your code is copied. But it does not require that that licence ...

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What is the standard practice when the developer does not want third party redistribution of a certain free and open source software?
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31 votes

This seems to happen again and again. Someone develops software, generously distributing it as free software, but doesn't fully understand the implications of giving their users the four freedoms. ...

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What guarantees that the published app matches the published open source code?
30 votes

In addition to Mureinik's excellent point, there is a general move towards reproducible builds in FLOSS, which provides a useful halfway house between build it yourself and distributor publishes a ...

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If an employee modifies a copy of a GPLv3-licensed open source library, is the modified copy intellectual property of the company?
30 votes

If an employee makes a modified copy of a GPLv3-licensed open source library on the job, is that modified copy property of the employer? No. But the modifications are their property, in most ...

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Changing my own non-software project from GPLv3 to CC BY-SA
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29 votes

You have accepted two other small commits to this project, but apart from those you are the sole rightsholder in your work. Moreover, although IANAL/IANYL, because the two commits simply correct the ...

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Use GPLv3 library in a closed system (no software distribution)
29 votes

The premiss of your question is faulty, at least so far as the title. You are selling a widget (in this case, a thermostat) which contains the binaries of Ubuntu Server and other pieces of free ...

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Are software licenses version-specific?
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29 votes

Firstly, since you are the sole author you are (presumably) the sole rightsholder, so you aren't bound by the licence anyway. Secondly, licences don't inhere in software, they attach to software ...

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Who will be the copyright owner of a new file in a forked repository on github?
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27 votes

Your question suggests that you regard copyrights as property rights. This is a completely understandable misconception - big content creators push this agenda quite hard - but it is a misconception. ...

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Can my proprietary app automatically download a GPL-licensed binary?
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25 votes

You could, but I wouldn't bother. Your application invokes a GPLed binary via fork-and-exec, and as we have written many times here (example), that means it's likely a separate work for GPL purposes....

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What should I do with the copyright details in a codebase when modifying it when it wasn't forked?
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25 votes

I think this may be one of those cases where people get confused about copyright because they're caught up in the mechanics of github. You have downloaded a copy of a piece of code licensed under MIT, ...

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If I fork a lib that is MIT / Apache 2.0 dual license, can I change it to CC0 for redistribution?
25 votes

In my opinion, it is not fine to relicense content under either of those licences to CC0. CC0 includes a pretty strong waiver of moral rights, which are not mentioned in either the MIT or Apache ...

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Which license can protect a software to be distribute without changes under a different name?
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24 votes

My colleague has posted an excellent explanation of why a licence that does exactly what you've asked for would be pointless. It would also be non-free, because the right to distribute both non-...

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Does "open source" always mean "open access"?
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24 votes

Is my understanding correct, or there is a nuance I do miss? There may be several, but this one is important: free software grants freedom, but not to everyone. The four freedoms are granted to all ...

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I was told by a vendor who licenses their paid software under GPL v2 that I cannot include the software inside my framework. How so?
23 votes

Assuming that the original work was distributed under the GNU GPLv2, and that you have made a work which is a derivative of it (in copyright terms), you may redistribute your derivative work subject ...

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Distribute program with GPLv3 but need a subscription - How can this be made possible?
22 votes

It is perfectly permissible to distribute under GPLv3 software for using a service, access to which is restricted to registered, or even paying, users. Scrolling down my Android phone, the first ...

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Can you withdraw the license on an open source project so that even those who already have it can no longer use it?
21 votes

Merely as a supplement to amon's excellent answer, I note that this was explicitly addressed in the 2018 FOSDEM talk that I wrote up for LWN. The talk was given by three lawyers, all with a ...

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Do the licences permit GPL- and BSD-licensed applications to be used for government work?
21 votes

Different organizations have different policies. Google is apparently fine with GPL software, but doesn't permit AGPL. Facebook seems fine with both, but anything under the SSPL or with a Commons ...

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Can I sell UNMODIFIED Open source software without providing the actual source code?
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20 votes

GPLv3 directly addresses your question, so no speculation is required. Conveying unmodified code is covered in s4, and conveying other forms than source code in s6. s6 says that You may convey a ...

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Do defunct companies have to comply with requests for GPL code?
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20 votes

Legal issues can be very jurisdictionally-dependent, and of course IANAL/IANYL, but the issue seems to me to relate to the circumstances of sale. If the original company was bought as a going concern,...

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