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I want to use SVG Edit for project. This software is distributed under the Apache 2 license.

I've seen that:

  • all copies, modified or unmodified, are accompanied by a copy of the licence
  • all modifications are clearly marked as being the work of the modifier
  • all notices of copyright, trademark and patent rights are reproduced accurately in distributed copies
  • the licensee does not use any trademarks that belong to the licensor

Do these pertain to the code or should I display the license somewhere in the GUI? The orignal software displays a "powered by SVG Edit", is it ok if I remove this? And most importantly: what is the correct etiquette for doing this? I don't want to be an asshole, but at the same time I want to simplify the UI as much as possible and removing the link will be part of it if it's not considered rude.

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For completeness, I just want to throw in a very good link I came across (on the tl;drLegal site) when searching this topic: - Apache License 2.0 (Apache-2.0) Explained I think the other answers already here actually say it better, but maybe the link will be useful to someone else. –  Richard Le Mesurier Nov 24 '13 at 13:38
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@RichardLeMesurier The link is helpful of course but links and resources alone are not good answers. Explanations and reasoning in your own words with links and references to back up your claims make for answers on StackExchange. See How To Answer for more information. If you wish to contribute just a link or additional information then you should provide this information in the form of a comment instead. I went ahead and converted your answer into a comment for you. –  maple_shaft Nov 24 '13 at 18:24
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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You do not need to display the license in the GUI, under any circumstances.

For software licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0 (APLv2), it is quite okay to modify the software in the way that you suggest. That license encourages modification. The license assures your freedom to remove "powered by SVG Edit" in your modified version.

However, see the APLv2 (section 4(b)) about your obligations regarding the NOTICES file that ships with the APLv2 software. You are required to display its contents in a way that is appropriate to the software. (Mind you, SVG Edit probably already does this.) You may not remove the "powered by SVG Edit" if it so happens that that comes from the NOTICES file. But, if you distribute the NOTICES file and the source code, then you are exempted from this. See section 4(b) of the APLv2 to better understand your options.

In any case, what you want to do is not rude, especially if it makes your derivative work better.

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Just say thanks...everybody wins

IANAL... so I will not comment of the legal obligations of the Apache licence.

Good etiquette in using opensource software is to at least give credit where credit is due. This I think is a bare minimum. As such, Whatever you do I think it would be good practice to mention and give thanks to the different projects, libraries or developers that helped you create your system. May it be through integrating a library, modifying a piece of code gathered somewhere or getting direct help from someone.

Make mention that you used it is minimal.

Tell them you used it is nice.

Make your mentions and thanks in a way that is linkable for their use and give them permission to mention your project in return is even better.

What would be considered rude is to use a piece of Open-Source, make some corrections and modifications, integrate it in another system and publish this other system without ever sharing the fixes or mentioning that you used it anywhere.

Open-source does not ask for much and the people certainly do not make a fortune with the work they put in. Think of what it would mean if you had to code the whole thing from scratch without any outside help... it's just fair to give these people credit for the work they done, it is often their only salary and you giving it to them will not take food off your table. But if you can help it, the reputation they could gain from your reference could put food on their table.

Reputation can be a powerful resource, it is hard to earn but so easy to give.

You are now in a position to give it, some day someone else will return the favour.

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It looks like you are affected by '4. Redistribution' clause of that license, which you should read carefully, and ask a lawyer if anything is not clear to you (if you can afford one, and if you can find one who will understand what it's all about, for every country where you want to distribute or sell your project).

I'm not a lawyer, I'll just tell you how I understand these 4 items from that clause - I may be completely wrong.

Item 1 applies if your project is a 'Derivative Work' as defined in Apache 2 license (again, read that definition carefully). If yes, you need to include Apache 2 license text itself, I have seen it applied to various products, usually in the documentation (printed or online) somewhere under the title 'this software contains code' or 'is derived from code ... which is covered by this license', as appropriate. All copyrigths to all parts and portions are also mentioned somewhere nearby.

Items 2 and 3 usually are about source files.

Item 4 applies if the 'original' code contained 'NOTICE' text file, then you should include and display it

in at least one of the following places: within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the Derivative Works; within the Source form or documentation, if provided along with the Derivative Works; or, within a display generated by the Derivative Works, if and wherever such third-party notices normally appear.

I have seen such notices in 'About' dialog which almost every GUI program has, it's considered polite to give all credits there.

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