Skip to main content
62 votes
Accepted

Can you host a version of Wikipedia on your own domain and charge for it?

It's allowed by the Creative Commons Attribution -ShareAlike license, and intentionally so. The Wikimedia Foundation wants things like this to be possible; that is part of the goal of open content. (...
Someone's user avatar
  • 17k
59 votes

Why do some licenses have a clause stating that one can't violate the law?

Because breaking the law is not breach of contract (Necessarily). Were you to use the model to 3D-print a gun and rob banks with it, without this clause, you have not broken the contract. That would ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
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 ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.2k
53 votes

Can you host a version of Wikipedia on your own domain and charge for it?

"they end up ranking higher than Wikipedia itself on Google". That's a highly unlikely scenario, unless you could somehow convince all current users of Wikipedia that switching to a paid ...
PMF's user avatar
  • 5,778
48 votes
Accepted

GPLv3-licensed project on Github seems to try to restrict commercial use

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) ...
Sneftel's user avatar
  • 1,933
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 ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
46 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 ...
user19642323's user avatar
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 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
32 votes

Can the Cyber Resilience Act make it illegal to retire?

An obvious workaround for individuals would be to operate through a front company and then simply dissolve that front upon retirement. Provided it is the front which offers the product to market and ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 2,605
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 ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 13.5k
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 &...
Greendrake's user avatar
  • 27.5k
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 ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 700
23 votes

How do trademarks apply to Open Source?

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 "...
David Siegel's user avatar
23 votes

Can the Cyber Resilience Act make it illegal to retire?

The essence of this question is whether Alice, a natural person, is exempt from the EU rules for "economic operators". The EU definition of "economic operator" in the CRA ...
MSalters's user avatar
  • 5,657
22 votes
Accepted

Is it legal for me to provide a download of an unchanged fork of an application that is on GitHub?

There seems to be no controversy about whether you are allowed to make a copy of a publicly accessible GitHub repository by forking it. As they agreed by accepting the GitHub terms of service and ...
John Bollinger's user avatar
22 votes

is there (yet) a standard, simple license header that prohibits machine learning?

No It’s quite likely there never will be. It is an open question whether copying for the purpose of training an AI model is fair use. If it is, than any prohibition by the copyright holder will be of ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
21 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
David Siegel's user avatar
21 votes

Is it legal for me to provide a download of an unchanged fork of an application that is on GitHub?

When you don't specify a licence, the author retains almost all of their rights: You're under no obligation to choose a license. However, without a license, the default copyright laws apply, meaning ...
richardb's user avatar
  • 2,346
20 votes

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

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 ...
David Siegel's user avatar
19 votes

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

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 ...
WBT's user avatar
  • 4,868
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 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
16 votes

How long does a GPL licencee have to respond to a source code request before it becomes a GPL violation?

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 ...
David Siegel's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

What is a binary form in software BSD license (and other licenses that didn't define it)?

Ultimately, these terms would have to be interpreted by a court in order to get clarity. But the phrasing “source or binary form” should likely be understood as “not just source form, but any form of ...
amon's user avatar
  • 24k
16 votes

Can you host a version of Wikipedia on your own domain and charge for it?

Wikipedia does not make any attempt to stop people creating and placing online copies of Wikipedia, or parts of it. Indeed it encourages people to do so. Not only does the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license ...
David Siegel's user avatar
15 votes

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

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 ...
Shazamo Morebucks's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Trade restrictions on open source software

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 ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 13.5k
12 votes

Are Word-Frequency lists copyrightable?

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 "...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
12 votes

Do I really have to Open Source my project?

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 ...
David Siegel's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Who can publish GPLv4?

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. ...
amon's user avatar
  • 24k

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