53

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 your license doesn't do what you intend it to do. As a consequence, people who you want to use your software might not do so, because your license prevents it or ...


49

The second paragraph is an invitation for people who don't want to follow the terms of the GPL (e.g. who want to incorporate it into a larger closed-source work, or make closed-source modifications) to contact XXX for a less onerous (but more expensive) license. That would require that XXX have full rights to the software, that they did not for instance ...


47

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 and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, ...


45

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 run) The GPL is viral - any project using something licensed under the GPL must also be licensed under the GPL The easiest way to comply with the first point ...


40

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 proper license and nothing to revoke (the copyright owner grants permission in the form of "a license" which is a legal abstraction, that normally is specified in ...


28

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 as a separate process so that your code can use its output then you can distribute your program without the source code, as long as you comply with the terms of ...


27

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 "contract" means to create one. Indeed, you do it every time you buy or sell. So, it's "no" when you're doing it for yourself. Or you can say &...


23

Being or not being open source makes fairly little difference in trademark law. If a commercial firm (Yoyodyne, say) had used the name "Portable Network Graphics" and the abbreviation "PNG" in trade, and taken such further steps as would be needed to protect it in the relevant countries, that firm would have a protectable trademark. Note ...


22

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 the GPL "teeth". Without copyright, you would generally be able to duplicate and distribute programs without any kind of license or permission from the author. ...


21

Since the effective date of the US 1976 Copyright act, a copyright notice is not required at all on works published in the US, nor is it required on works published in any other country that adheres to the Berne Convention (which is adhered to by almsot every country in the world at this time). A copyright notice, if present, may specify a pseudonym, a ...


20

Under the Berne Convention, a copyright notice is not required at all, although using one is good practice. Using one usually eliminates the claimed status of "innocent infringement", which, if found true by a court, greatly reduces damage awards. It is usual to place such notices at or near the start of a work. That is where people tend to look for them, ...


19

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 things") on order to identify what rights are granted (you have the right to do things that would be copyright infringement, if you did those acts without ...


17

Section 4, Definition 4 Covered Entity, emphasis added: The term "covered entity" means a device manufacturer, a software manufacturer, an electronic communication service, a remote computing service, a provider of wire or electronic communication service, a provider of a remote computing service, or any person who provides a product or method to ...


16

The GPL does not explicitly specify a time within which the source code must be provided, which probably means a "reasonable time" is allowed. What is "reasonable" would eventually be evaluated by a court, if the matter ever got that far. But please note that only the copyright holder (or the holder's authorized agent) can sue for ...


15

The License is not valid in the first place, as the developer did not have the right to attach the license to his work; the company does. If someone uses the developer's work, and the company sues them for copyright infringement, the license will not protect that person, since the license isn't enforceable. To prove this in court, the company will likely ...


13

I realize there's already an answer, but I'd like to go into more detail. There are generally two kinds of open source software licenses: permissive and copyleft (the latter sometimes called viral). Both are intended to allow people to freely use, modify, and redistribute a work while ensuring the original author gets credit. This contrasts with releasing ...


13

What you have been told is incorrect. You are in no way required to release your product under an open source license, nor to publish it in any form. If you do "convey" a work that is under the GPL, or a modified version of a work under the GPL, then you must provide the source code, and include the GPL license text, and for a modified version, ...


12

The underlying text(s) may be subject to copyright protection, but the individual words are not -- they are usually independently existing words of the language (there are invented words like "chrowl" which I have never seen appearing in a word frequency list). A frequency count is the simply a factual report about language use in a corpus. Even in ...


12

In practice, it is abundantly clear to which entity the “Free Software Foundation” refers, even if the FSF were to change its name, even if there are unaffiliated organizations with the same name. Version 3 of the GPL also contains a link to the FSF website, making it clear which organization this referred to in 2007 when the license text was published. If ...


11

Publishing source code is protected under the First Amendment. Therefore the US government cannot stop anyone from publishing open source software, and once it is available from a web site it is impossible to stop anyone else getting it. However any kind of support contract (such as this) or other commercial arrangement would fall under the definition of "...


10

Generally, such sanctions prevent certain sorts of transactions in goods and services with nationals or entities of the nation under sanction. The exact list of transactions prohibited or restricted varies. If Open source software were being provided as a service, so that the recipient paid directly for a license, or for customization or configuration work, ...


10

Copyright is held by (natural or legal) persons, not by names. A person continues to own their property when they change their name, including intellectual property such as copyrights. This is a bit jurisdiction-dependent, but even anonymous works are copyright-protected! The names in a copyright notice are best understood as a reminder that someone holds ...


10

For a real-world example, consider the early history of the browser now known as Firefox. The earliest releases were made under the name "Phoenix". The name was changed after trademark claims were made by Phoenix Technologies, a company that develops software but doesn't have any products even remotely related to web browsing (they build BIOS and ...


9

To my understanding software under GPLv3 can be used commercially (e.g. as tool for company-internal calculations) with no restriction. No, it can't be used commercially with no restriction. It must comply with the restrictions of the GPLv3, therefore it can only be used commercially within the restrictions of the GPLv3 (just like for non-commercial use). ...


9

Clean room design is intended to protect against not only copyright liability, but possible trade secret liability as well. It avoids any possibility that any part of the expression of the source work has been included in the re-implemented work, because the designers and creators of the latter work only from a specification. There is never a legal ...


8

Similar to this question and this one, the Uniform Commercial Code requires that exclusion of warranty be conspicuous. While it does not specify the manner in which text should be made conspicuous, putting it in all caps certainly has that effect if the surrounding text is in sentence case. The meaning is that all products come with implied warranties of ...


8

If it reaches court, it will come down to whether she developed it in connection with the work she was employed to do, or whether it was something completely different. I remember reading about case-law being established by an engineer working for the National Coal Board, who developed and patented a machine for peeling onions in his spare time. The NCB ...


8

The general idea of such an app is not subject to copyright protection. Ideas never are protected by copyright. So creating an app based on the functionality of a fictional app would not be a copyright violation. The logo might, if it is original enough, be protected by copyright. Any or all of the "name, the logo and the color scheme" might well be subject ...


8

Data is not copyrightable, but databases (structured, organized data) might be. This depends on the jurisdiction, e.g. database rights are recognized in the EU. Whereas copyright protects creative expression, database rights protect the effort that went into collecting and organizing the data. Note that even when database rights apply, this doesn't prevent ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible