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I've read all of the posts I can find on this and I'm still not sure of the answer.

I'd like to use a jQuery plugin on my website that is dual licensed under MIT and GPL.

  1. Does the dual license mean that as long as one or the other is satisfied I'm fine, or does it have to be both?

  2. I've read that a GPL javascript being loaded on someone's broswer doesn't count as redistribution, so I wouldn't have to use the GPL license for the rest of my site (provide source code). Is this true?

  3. My partner thinks I should remove the copyright altogether and change the variable names, as this is going to be on a commercial website. Is this ethical? I respect the person who took the time to write the code. Should I contact them and see if the plugin is available under a commercial license?

Thank you very much in advance for helping to clarify. As this is my first website, I figure it's better to ask these questions than take a shot in the dark.

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Your partner needs to read up on "willful infringement", which often results in treble damages when you are sued for using someone else's work without their permission. –  Ross Patterson Mar 15 '12 at 16:45
    
For a definitive answer to questions about a specific package's license you can always ask the author (or copyright holder). Their interpretation of the license is the only one that matters because only they can sue you. –  Craig Mar 21 '12 at 16:25
    
You should definitely not do 3. That would be willful copyright infringement and could get you in a lot more trouble than 1 or 2 ever would. –  Bill Leeper Nov 6 '13 at 15:31

1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

1) Does the dual license mean that as long as one or the other is satisfied I'm fine, or does it have to be both?

Yes. Specifically, jQuery makes it explicit that you can use it even in commercial environment.

Why then it is also with GPL? This is because, if someone wants to make additional javascript library using jQuery, he/she can choose GPL license for himself/herself and distribute further in GPL to protect the freedom (which won't be possible with MIT).

2) I've read that a GPL javascript being loaded on someone's broswer doesn't count as redistribution, so I wouldn't have to use the GPL license for the rest of my site (provide source code). Is this true?

As of GPLv3 the web page downloading the javascript is NOT distribution because it is NOT usable form. This is actually helpful for the website owners who classify such usage of project as self use rather than distribution and hence they don't have to open their source.

There is a new license GPL Affero - that prohibits this; i.e. if there is a jQuery like library released under GPL Affro, the website owner has to release their own code as well!

3) My partner thinks I should remove the copyright altogether and change the variable names, as this is going to be on a commercial website. Is this ethical? I respect the person who took the time to write the code. Should I contact them and see if the plugin is available under a commercial license?

You don't have to do this. Specifically for jQuery license permits all uses (unless you are going to bomb any parliament somewhere) so it is not essentially.

If there was license restriction, you should NOT use this rather than really NOT giving due credit to the original author.

Even if not on ethical ground, legally it would be tough to recreate copyrights by merely changing variable names

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Thank you for the very detailed answer. You thoroughly answered all of my questions, and I most definitely appreciate it! It's great to know that a beginner like me can come to a free site like this and receive such quality support. I look forward to learning more about programming and giving back to the community. –  Jack T Mar 14 '12 at 6:03
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The license you mention in 2) is GPL Affero, not Affro. It's not that hairy :) –  Jaap Mar 14 '12 at 10:02
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Thanks @Jaap for the correction! –  Dipan Mehta Mar 14 '12 at 10:22
    
Hmm, do you have an exact citation for the bit about GPLv3 not counting use in a web page as distribution? –  SamB Jan 26 at 22:21

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