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This question relates to software-licensing. Someone familiar with open-source licensing may be able to answer this question.

I am facing an issue in trying to interpret/understand some Licenses, due to a language barrier (English is not my first language). My situation is that I am using three products inside a distributable closed-source commercial product. These are:

  • Jersey (Common Development and Distribution License)
  • Jetty (Dual Apache & Eclipse)
  • RXTX (LGPL)

The tools above are not modified in my project and are used 'as is' included with Maven.

My question is what step/s should I take to be perfectly sure I am not violating any Licence agreements?

Should I (for example):

  • Put some information inside the README file that I am using this software inside?

  • Print something in command line?

  • Should I place the full-license texts of those tools in separate files (but this could be misleading to customer, because my product doesn't have any Licence)?

  • Could I extract these Licenses text files during the first JAR run?

I am looking for practical information, not necessarily from a lawyers.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 8 '13 at 13:18

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1 Answer 1

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You need to talk to a lawyer about this. A lawyer who specializes in "IP law."

I am not a lawyer. What I am about to say is probably wrong, because I do not have a complete understanding of your project, nor about the interaction of the CDDL with the LGPL.

However, I can tell you some of what each license requires:

  • Jersey's license, the CDDL, requires that you:
    • make available all source code under that license to your end users;
    • include a copy of the CDDL license text with your distribution;
    • make notice of all changes you made to Jersey (this can be done in the source code distribution in the form of comments and/or as a README);
    • ensure that your proprietary license does not conflict with the CDDL.
  • You must choose which of Jetty's two licenses you will comply with (including the additional exceptions listed in the NOTICE file). Both licenses require that you:
    • must include the full text of both the licenses and the NOTICE file;
    • must make available the source code if you made changes or point to where end users can get the source code if you did not;
    • ensure that your proprietary license does not conflict with either Apache or Eclipse.
  • It must be possible for users to replace RXTX with their own compiled version of RXTX in order t ocomply with the LGPL. You must also:

    • include the full text of the LGPL and any other NOTICE or attribution files;
    • make available the full source code of the LGPL'd code;
    • ensure your own license does not conflict with the terms of the LGPL as it applies to RXTX.
  • You should also draft (with the help of an attorney) clear terms for your end-user license agreement. This license should make it clear that portions of the project are open source and under various different licenses. Your attorney must make sure your license does not conflict with any of the terms of the other licenses.

Lastly, you should not ask for legal advice on a forum such as this, for a topic that is mired in so many legal potholes.

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