Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There's a way that a company/foundation that own an specific MIT licensed software (framework) deny or prevent you from teaching it to other programmers and make profit from it?

And what if this company have it's own courses/classes about it? Can they prevent "anyone else" from teaching it too?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Ixrec, durron597, Ampt, Robert Harvey, jwenting May 12 at 9:29

  • This question does not appear to be about software development within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

More information is probably needed. What MIT license? What country? What state? Is the company a fortune 500 company? Because even if they can't stop you - they can make you wish you hadn't. –  Sterling Hamilton Feb 14 '12 at 0:37
@SterlingHamilton - Nope.. is not a big company, and they're from EUA (don't know the state) –  TiuTalk Feb 14 '12 at 1:49
Did you sign an NDA? –  Sterling Hamilton Feb 14 '12 at 1:53
Define: "teaching it to other programmers" Do you mean - teaching them how to use it or showing them how to create it themselves? –  Sterling Hamilton Feb 14 '12 at 2:17
Voting to close because this is a legal question that probably has no answer or varies wildly by jurisdiction, and not the sort of thing a programmer would learn through experience dealing with MIT-licensed software. –  Ixrec May 11 at 20:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Not because of the MIT license. Trademark and Patent law still apply, however, and as the MIT license doesn't really speak to those you might have trouble on that front.

Depending on which version of the MIT license, it may forbid you using the name of the copyright holder to advertise anything related to the code without a separate agreement.

They can also sue you regardless of the validity of their stand, and unless you have the money to fight in court, stop you that way.

You should consult a lawyer, though, since all this depends on the local laws.

share|improve this answer
+1, this answer is the only one which actually bothers to answer the question without additional assumptions. Such prohibitions can only follow from contracts (such as an accepted license) or the law, and in this case the MIT license does not contain such a prohibition. –  MSalters Feb 14 '12 at 8:20

As per our conversation up top.

Unless you signed something explicitly saying "No you cannot share this knowledge." I really doubt they can stop you from teaching someone how to use something.

I don't think there's a precedence for that. But remember I am not a lawyer.

Normally there's a Nondisclosure agreement for that stuff or a non-compete.

But I doubt there's any "passive" law that stop you from teaching someone how to use a product if they are already in possession of said product.

Put another way: I doubt it is illegal to leave someone ignorant on how to use a product they possess.

share|improve this answer

This looks unfeasible, even with patents. Patents are meant to tell people explicitly how to do certain stuff with the condition that if you sell/make money with what you do with that method, you're supposed to give a cut to the patent holder.

That's the theory.

The pricing strategy and the "patenting the obvious over and over again" practice, then, get in the way of the OSS and business in general, but teaching should never be hindered and constrained by this kind of matters.

Now... a case that might fall into a gray area is that in which your teaching steps on the toes of the big, bad, evil, armed to the teeth, hardware/sysadmin certification business.

Those guys try to boss out competition by:

  • perpetually changing/adding to the APIs / GUIs / CLIs, they have access to,

  • pushing hard on their trademarks, making it practically illegal for competitors to advertise what they're trying to teach,

  • bundling certifications with products and product discounts with certifications,

  • pursuing a crazy education style, obsessive over the nit-picky details,

  • discrediting traditional, sane, top-down, approaches to education.

Then again, as always, IANAL. Be warned.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.