Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

when they say that a project is open source (i.e. LifeRay) does it mean that I can take anything I want from that project?

I want to use some of the icons used in LifeRay portal for my own (commercial) apps. Is this legal?

share|improve this question
Why exactly do you want to just use another person's work for a commercial application. Make your own icons. – Ramhound May 13 '11 at 16:48
@Ramhound Im not making a commercial app. i want to know if i can make a commercial app with other ppl's icons u see – Pacerier May 13 '11 at 21:03
up vote 25 down vote accepted

Absolutely not.

"Open source" means that it is offered under a license that fits However you are responsible for following the license. And if you use the source in a way that is not compatible with the license, then you are violating copyright. Furthermore if they have not OKed the reuse of software in proprietary apps, then you will be disliked by the community at large in addition to the legal penalties you face.

In the case of LifeRay in particular, from it looks like they are licensing their software under the LGPL. From my understanding of that license it is not OK for you just to borrow pieces and integrate it into your application.

(Insert standard disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. However I've been involved with open source software for as long as the term has existed.)

share|improve this answer
Good answer for this specific case. Just wanted to point out that some OS licenses do allow such usage, although they aren't nearly as common. Also, he is perfectly free to use those icons in a commercial application, as long as he releases his source code under the LGPL. – Karl Bielefeldt May 13 '11 at 17:01
There's also often a distinction between source and potentially trademarked logos or other images. In any event, this only makes the answer a stronger "no". – Rein Henrichs May 13 '11 at 17:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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