Questions tagged [open-source-software]

For questions about open source software, which is licensed under an open source license. Generally, the source code is made available, and it provides a set of terms to allow others to use it. You may want to consider asking your question at Open Source Stack Exchange as well.

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53
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3answers
36k views

Would open source programs that use encryption be illegal under this draft of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016”

The U.S. congress has a draft for a bill that would require companies to fetch information from a device when requested by a court. A consequence of this is that many types of security technology ...
30
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3answers
8k views

Can an open source licence be revoked if it violates employer's IP?

Suppose a developer's contract says that all intellectual property (IP) rights to her code belong to her UK employer. While employed, she develops a library and open-sources it under the Apache 2.0 ...
20
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2answers
11k views

Can a user sell my software (MIT license) without modification?

Basically, I was just wondering if I release a piece of open source software under the MIT license, does that mean that someone could take it and sell it onto people without doing any modification to ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Do copyright notices need to be placed at the beginning of a file?

I'm a student and won't be publishing code any time soon, but I am working on improving the composition of my code. I'm interested in open source and I've only seen copyright notices and license text ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Is WINE illegal?

Is WINE (WINE Is Not an Emulator) illegal? Given that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held in Oracle v. Google that APIs are copyrightable, is WINE (which reproduces the Windows ...
11
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2answers
4k views

Can I bundle MIT licensed components in a Apache 2.0 licensed project?

I am creating a project that I would like to open source and license under the Apache 2.0 License. The project will come with a bundled version of an open source component which is licensed under the ...
11
votes
1answer
960 views

Is it legal to write software to convert data from a proprietary format?

I have created a piece of software that converts a proprietary format from the database blob of a large, well known commercial software company into the equivalent open source data type. The large ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Q about consequences of a software license amendment regarding patents: Facebook's open-source “react”

UPDATE 22 Sep, 2017 "Relicensing React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js" (MIT license, PATENT file removed) https://code.facebook.com/posts/300798627056246/relicensing-react-jest-flow-and-immutable-js/ ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Is a copyright notice with a non-existent name invalid?

If a person changes their name, do any copyrights registered to them still apply? Or at least, as this is the subject in mind, does any software licensed to them still hold the same copyright?
10
votes
2answers
797 views

Who owns the code when my employer wants something similar to my existing open source project?

I have a similar situation to this question. My employer hired me knowing that I work on some open source projects, but for a long time, showed no interest in my open source projects. Now they want ...
10
votes
2answers
298 views

At what point and how should I change the license/Copyright notice when I create a derivative?

If I take a piece of software that is licensed as MIT (quoted at the end), and use it as a scaffold to create for my own thing, do I need to keep including the old license perpetually? This would seem ...
9
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5answers
2k views

Are Word-Frequency lists copyrightable?

If someone generates word frequency lists somehow. For example by analysing a web corpus or data from keyboards. Is this form of list of words and their frequencies copyrightable? For example if ...
9
votes
2answers
459 views

Can I work on patent-infringing software in private, then release it when said patent expires?

This is not a scenario I'm actually going through; this is just a thought I had. The situation proposed in this question is entirely hypothetical. Suppose some algorithm -- for this post, let's say ...
8
votes
3answers
391 views

Is there a fair use exception for trademarks?

The copyright law has the famous fair-use exception, where you can legally use some parts of copyrighted works without having to pay any royalties to, or ask any permission from, the copyright holder. ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Copyright in copyleft licence?

Is the copyright mentioned in GPL v3 used just for the sake of defining the word? (It's not copyrighted, but the word encompasses the same actions that would violate the copyright if it was ...
7
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3answers
814 views

How to legally contribute to open source projects (and other public stuff) in Germany?

Being a software developer it is very important to contribute to public projects and participate in public professional activities. This includes open source projects (which may belong to other ...
7
votes
1answer
864 views

Can I bundle Apache 2.0 licensed components in a GPL 3 licensed project?

I am creating a project that I would like to open source and license under the GPL 3 License. The project will come with a bundled version of an open source component which is licensed under the ...
7
votes
3answers
337 views

Is it legal to open source a spyware?

I have created a simple spyware on which whenever a form is submitted on any website, it will serialize the form data then send the data to my email address. I am only currently using it on my own ...
6
votes
3answers
269 views

Can I inspect websites' source in teaching video?

As a web developer, I find that we can learn a ton about HTML, CSS and JavaScript by opening the Developer Tools in Chromium and inspect elements, seeing the names other developer choose for their CSS ...
6
votes
2answers
247 views

Does using Java or Mono open me up to the possibility of being sued by Oracle or Microsoft?

Given the recent lawsuit between Google and Oracle due to Oracle's claims of the unfair usage of the Java API's in Android. I have a large amount of Java and C# code for certain back end processes on ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Do I need to include the full text of the MIT license in the UI of my app?

We're using an open-source software library which is distributed under the MIT license. The key line of the license is as follows: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the Copyright Status of code posted on JSFiddle?

Programmers share code on the site JSFiddle http://jsfiddle.net, the website section called Licence states: All code posted to the site belongs to the poster and no license is enforced. jsFiddle are ...
5
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1answer
659 views

Do international sanctions have an impact on Open Source Software?

Background Recently I was reading about embargoes and sanctions on Iran (also this link) and before Sudan, and it got me thinking about how they could impact Open Source Software. Sanctions being ...
5
votes
1answer
226 views

Open source company - how to protect myself from being sued?

In 2 and a bit weeks I'll be participating in a hackathon, where I'll create the prototype of an application that I want to base a company off of in the maybe-near future. Both the prototype and the ...
4
votes
3answers
897 views

Can I legally make a real mobile app based on a fictional app from a TV show?

There's a fictional mobile app in a Netflix TV show that I'd like to make a real thing. I'm an independent developer, I don't plan on monetizing it in any way, and it's going to be open-source. Is it ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Is it legal to use the Tor Network and Tor Software in the United States?

Is it legal to use the following provided by the Tor Project: Using the Tor Browser Using the Tor Network Browsing *.onion domains Browsing the "Hidden Wiki" Provided I'm not doing anything illegal ...
4
votes
1answer
206 views

Enforcing GPL without copyright

From what I understand the GPL license can only be enforced by the copyright holder. Therefore, given a scenario like this: A developer finds an abandoned software project licensed under GPL. S/he ...
4
votes
2answers
110 views

What if the code found in github with MIT license was stolen by someone and uploaded there?

What would happen if a piece of code from a proprietary source was uploaded by someone without permission to github with the MIT license and thousands of people have used it. Even if the company who ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

How to enforce GPL if the copyright holder doesn't have access to the source code of violating software?

I'd like to publish a C library project that I have written on GitHub and license it under GPL, so I am doing some research on open source licenses and some confusion comes to mind. Let's say Evil ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it legal to profit from an open source software

I am planning on making a service that uses a modified open source software. Would it be legal for me to profit from it? I am not sure what information would be relevant to this so if I have missed ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Legal issue with open source font?

I use a free, open source font called "Metropolis" for my webpages. However, apparently there now is a legal issue due to similarities to a licensed font called "Gotham", owned by ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Does the Apache 2.0 license require attribution on a commercial work on which it is based?

I'm using Nativescript which is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. Provided that I do not intend to change Nativescript itseft, but I'm using it to develop an application, am I expected to give ...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

Removing Developer Name From Software

I have recently found someone that is using software that I released on GitHub under the Apache License 2.0. The software is a Discord bot that includes a dashboard. I also have the following in the ...
4
votes
1answer
477 views

Can someone print and sell tshirts whose design includes Apache licensed emojis?

Is printing an emoji on tee shirts and selling them copyright infringement if the emoji font is under the Apache open source license?
4
votes
0answers
45 views

Copyright law and distribution terms for public versions or derivatives

The present question is a special case of Can one take BSD licensed code and distribute it under GPL?. Looking recently at OpenBSD's LibreSSL, I've noticed that SSLeay that it traces its roots to (...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Mention of open source license in product

We have a product that heavily relies on open source licenses like Apache 2.0, GPL etc. Our product is a service that we host inhouse and our customers use (like Basecamp), like a Saas, so nobody ...
3
votes
6answers
664 views

How are open source licenses valid without consideration?

I'm not a lawyer or law student in any capacity, but I've read in multiple sources that a contract is not valid unless there is consideration for both parties. With this in mind, how can licenses for ...
3
votes
1answer
679 views

Meaning of uppercase paragraphs in software licenses

For example, in the MIT license we find this paragraph: THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF ...
3
votes
2answers
180 views

Open source licence reproduction

If an open source software licence requires to "preserve this notice", which usually appears within the source code file, and I'm not distributing any parts of the source code (but only binary files), ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Can a child release his own work into e.g. the public domain?

I (15 years old; living in Germany) write software now for ~four years and wondered whether I can release it into the public domain or under some free software license without having to ask somebody. ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

What are the potential legal consequences for a company that has GPL violations?

In the news recently was that the smartphone company Xiaomi has not released the kernel source code for its Android phone that has been on the market for over 3 months. Since Android is based on the ...
3
votes
2answers
399 views

Why can you use the font “Helvetica” for free in LaTeX although it would otherwise be required to pay a fee?

When looking for the Helvetica font, it usually costs you a certain amount of money because it is not a free font. But when I am using the free open source software LaTeX, I can use the font wherever ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Is it possible to distribute BSD (derived) software with a warranty?

(In the following, assume that "I" is not personal, but could be a corporation or group suitable in size and training to perform the tasks) I have received sample code carrying a license patterned ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Are computer generated error messages subject to copyright?

In firefox, it throws up a generated error in response to the website that im creating (which is my work). can i then copy and paste part of that error into my program as part of a solution im writing?...
3
votes
2answers
302 views

Is it legal for manufacturers to lock bootloaders on Android phones?

Some backgroud : A bootloader is a very low level piece of software that runs first and loads an operating system of some other tool. On a lot of new Android devices the bootloader is "locked", that ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

How does GPL v3 work?

I want to use the GPL v3 version of EXT JS for a project, but I'm very confused about how it should be used and whether or not I should get the paid version. I'm seeing different answers on the net so ...
3
votes
2answers
53 views

Open Source Contributor Agreements and Consideration

Some Open Source projects require their contributors to execute so called Contributor Agreements. The content of these agreements vary, but many address contributors right to make the contribution and ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Can a professor patent and license a technology if the development used software with non-commerical license?

Suppose a professor or student at a university uses software like Rosetta (a protein folding software) for their research. Rosetta has free academic licenses as well as paid commercial licenses ...
3
votes
2answers
213 views

CC Share-Alike for Open Source Software

I've been developing a mobile app to help players and GM in a RPG titled Anima Prime. The game itself is licensed in Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. I'm no native speaker of English so ...
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Question About OpenStreetMap and Legal Requirements

We are planning to start working on a new Application (web based application) that requires us to use Geo Data. OpenStreetMap is a free and open source data source that we could use as a starting ...

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