57 votes
Accepted

Is it illegal to backup your hard drive if you have copyrighted software on it?

You're allowed to make backups of copyrighted software, as long as you are authorized to use the software, the backups are not distributed, and they are destroyed when/if you are no longer authorized ...
  • 1,970
53 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to write a software license if I'm not a licensed attorney?

As Greendrake says, you can legally create your "open source" license. There are two problems with this: Since you are not an experienced contract lawyer, there is a significant risk that ...
  • 28.2k
47 votes

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

Yes. The license itself is really just one sentence long, and states explicitly that this is allowed. Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software ...
45 votes

Do I really have to Open Source my project?

You need to know two things about the GPL: The GPL is a license which requires that when you distribute binaries, you distribute the source code with them (binaries being the things you can directly ...
41 votes
Accepted

How does licensing software not imply ownership? Don't I own a Windows operating system once I pay for it?

General The legal discussion hinges on the question whether the concept of copyright exhaustion applies to software. (The linked article also discusses the Court of Justice of the European Union ...
40 votes
Accepted

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

The Apache 2.0 license purports to be irrevocable, but it also presupposes that the supposed licensor has the right to grant permission to copy. In this case, that is untrue, so there never was a ...
  • 176k
40 votes

Does CC BY-SA permit denial of attribution if the requested pseudonym is political?

I don't see how. Remember that a license is a contract where the author gives permission to copy (modify, redistribute, remix, etc) a copyrighted work, provided that the licensee fulfills the stated ...
39 votes

Do the UK TV licensing rules disregard innocent until proven guilty?

The system operates on "innocent until proven guilty" If you watch or record live television or you download or watch programmes on BBC iPlayer (live, catch up, or on demand), you must have ...
  • 3,498
38 votes

Can freelancers publish code in GitHub and claim it to be theirs?

Provided you are in one of the 170+ countries signatory to the Berne Convention (the current 10 non-signatories are, exhaustively: Eritrea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, San Marino, Iran, Iraq, ...
  • 3,249
35 votes

Is it legal to copy a software license text from other companies to write my own?

Software licenses are protected by copyright, meaning that you need the author's permission to copy them. One way to get permission is to buy a license, since many of them are for sale. Sometimes (e.g....
  • 176k
30 votes

Do the UK TV licensing rules disregard innocent until proven guilty?

Sorry Matthew, that is wrong. But let's start with the OP's statement In the UK you have to state that you don't have a TV license and sign a declaration to that effect every 2 years (unless you then ...
28 votes

Do I really have to Open Source my project?

It depends on exactly how you are "using" the GPL code. If you have copied and modified the source code then you can only distribute copies under the GPL. If you have invoked a GPL program ...
  • 12.3k
27 votes
Accepted

Do disclaimers need to be capitalized?

Do they have to use all caps? Well, no. It's just that companies feel that's the easiest way to make the text "conspicuous" which is required by the Uniform Commercial Code explicitly in § 2-316. ...
  • 4,205
27 votes

Is it legal to write a software license if I'm not a licensed attorney?

Is it legal to write a software license if I'm not a licensed attorney? Yes. creating a contract is considered practicing law. Is that true? Yes and no. You don't even need to know what the word &...
  • 22.3k
25 votes
Accepted

Non-profit granting rights of use of software to for-profit

You can't grant or license that which is not yours. For example, the Slack terms of service say: We grant to Customer a non-sublicensable, non-transferable, non-exclusive, limited license for ...
23 votes

Copyright in copyleft licence?

No. GPL works are copyrighted (as are most creative works basically everywhere in the world, as soon as they're created, whether or not the author does anything about it), and copyright is what gives ...
  • 581
23 votes

If I have posted my own "homebrew" content on RPG.SE, and plan to publish it (after revising based on feedback), what credits am I required to give?

It's complicated You still own your own posts First off, you own everything that you originally created. Posting it on Stack Exchange doesn't affect your rights to your own content. Incorporating ...
  • 10.1k
21 votes
Accepted

Will using a cover of a song in a film free me from legal obligations?

No, the musical composition itself (i.e., what you might express tangibly in sheet music) has copyright distinct from the copyright that exists on Led Zepplin's recording of the song. Your new cover ...
  • 3,249
21 votes

Is it legal to copy a software license text from other companies to write my own?

Contracts and other legal documents, of which software licenses would fall, are protected by copyright, in general. However, not every contract would be; according to Kenneth Adams (NY Law Journal, ...
  • 1,109
21 votes
Accepted

As a non-US person, what license may I have to use public materials from agencies of US government?

17 USC 105 provides that: (a) In General.—Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from ...
21 votes
Accepted

Does MIT license oblige me to publish its code in open sources

You'll want to read the actual licenses yourself and understand what is required. If you don't understand, then you'll want to consult an attorney. But neither of these licenses are all that complex ...
  • 2,078
21 votes

Advantages of a law license other than the ability to practice law

If you stay licensed, you have the option to enter the practice of law in the future with no administrative hassles. In contrast, if you let your license lapse, you could have to study for and take ...
  • 151k
19 votes

Copyright in copyleft licence?

GPL does not purport that there is no copyright in a work to which the license applies: the works are still in copyright. It relies on the notion of copyright (which it redefines to include "similar ...
  • 176k
19 votes

How does licensing software not imply ownership? Don't I own a Windows operating system once I pay for it?

How does licensing a software not imply ownership? Because it doesn’t. Don't I own a Windows operating system once I pay for it? No Scenarios 1 - 3: each and every one of these is a breach of the ...
  • 166k
19 votes

Advantages of a law license other than the ability to practice law

Only lawyers can own law firms. Simply put, lawyers have a legal monopoly on the ownership of law firms. If you want to buy a stake in one, you need to be a lawyer. Even if a billionare like Jeff ...
  • 1,508
19 votes
Accepted

(Your unlawful act) "will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law." For real?

How close is such a statement corresponding with the reality? Legally, such language is a meaningless statement of future intent that at best makes clear that the person making the statement isn't ...
  • 151k
18 votes

Can freelancers publish code in GitHub and claim it to be theirs?

This is a fairly complex question and it depends heavily on what jurisdictions are involved. In the US software development by regular employees will typically be classified as "work for hire" and the ...
18 votes

As a non-US person, what license may I have to use public materials from agencies of US government?

As others have noted, works by the US Government are public domain within the USA. However that does not apply abroad: 3.1.7 Does the Government have copyright protection in U.S. Government works in ...
  • 12.3k
18 votes
Accepted

Do ghost writers have a claim of copyright?

This depends on the agreement between the person commissioning the work and the ghostwriter; but it is entirely possible that the ghostwriter would have no claim of copyright if it is a "work ...

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