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I found a database structure for a CMS system and I want to copy it with the EF that this database is done in, is it OK to copy the database structure of open source software which is under GNU v2 lisence?

I don't want the rest of the software only the database structure.

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+1 Interesting & on topic first time question! –  Yannis Rizos Jan 16 '12 at 4:22
    
Purely out of curiosity, which project are you looking at? –  Kevin D Jan 16 '12 at 8:49

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The intent of this license is to share developement and its benefits so you can copy what you wish from the GPL software but the "output" needs to also be released as GPL. The license clearly states that you are granted the right to make modifications under the terms of GPL

You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License

This term doesn't apply to "separated" parts of the program. But the database design isn't separated (like, for example some external library). The database scheme is protected under copyright (as a whole) i don't see any reason why it should not be. I bet if we spoken about copying some part of paid software no one would have such doubts.

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The easy answer is "Yes, if your software will be distributed under GPL v2". Likewise, if you do not intend to distribute your software (e.g., you're coding for a company's internal use only), the GPL allows you use it however you want.

The question gets difficult if you intend to distribute the software and not under GPL v2, because then you have to determine whether the database design is sufficiently creative that it would be copyrightable and thus protected under the GPL. The only safe answer, unless you've got good intellectual property lawyers, is "No".

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Went through the GNU V2 License copy and found nothing that may restrict your usage of the the db structure. But your end result should have the GNU V2 License as well. That is you must not restrict the source of your code.

Again this answer of mine comes without any warranty whatsoever.

GO here for more details.

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The way I read the GPL v2 Section 1:

You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

and Section 2:

You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

You can do this because what you are doing is basically taking a copy of the entire software distributed under GPL v2 and removing all portions except the database structure which is part of software. The only thing is that anything you will distribute that has this as part of your software will be distributed under GPL v2 license.

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