Software copyright is the extension of copyright law to machine-readable software

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30
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10answers
5k views

How can I hide my signature in a program?

We have a university programming course and fellow students are asking some programming questions in our Facebook group. I'm a little hesitant to share all of my programs, especially if it's something ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

Do I have to remove my app from app store? (Copyright infringement)

I just got an copyright infringement notice that says my app infringes on the usage policies of the services my app uses. However, this mail does not come directly from the company that runs the ...
22
votes
3answers
9k views

Copyright statements in source code [closed]

Ever since I started programming I've seen a header at the top of most code files indicating some sort of copyright: e.g. /* Copyright (c) 1998 Innotech */ or /* Copyright (c) 1998-2008 Innotech ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the right way to fork/re-use code from an open source project?

Let's say I am working on an open source project and want to re-use a trivial utility function from another open source project (for example, a file search/replace function). Is it legal to copy the ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Do I need to contact a lawyer to report a GPL violation in software distributed on Apple's App Store? [closed]

Some company is selling software through Apple's App Store which uses portions of code that I released publicly under the GPL. The company is violating the licensing terms in two ways, by (1) not ...
16
votes
4answers
8k views

Copyright notices/disclaimers in source files

It's a common practice to place copyright notices, various legal disclaimers and sometimes even full license agreements in each source file of an open-source project. Is this really necessary for a ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

How to manage a copyright notice in an open source project?

I'm working on, and adding to, a GitHub-hosted project that includes this LICENCE.md (apparently the MIT licence verbatim): Copyright (c) 2012 [Acme Corp] Permission is hereby granted, free of ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Can I minify Javascript that requires copyright notice?

I guess this is actually a legal question, but it relates to software. I'm about to include a JS plugin in a project. The comments include: Redistributions of source code must retain the ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

“Do Whatever You Want” License With Attribution

I'm looking for an open source license that lets people do whatever they want - just like the MIT license - just as long as they attribute the original author, i.e. me. Does a common license exist ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Can I use MIT license to give some of my previous written code to employer so that I protect myself and don't lose my copyright?

My situation: I have written a framework before I started my new job. I own the copyright. It has a bunch of boilerplate logic inside of it, like any piece of software. (duh!) I don't want to use ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

Do you tend to write your own name or your company name in your code?

I've been working on various projects at home and at work, and over the years I've developed two main APIs that I use in almost all AJAX based websites. I've compiled both of these into DLLs and ...
13
votes
3answers
518 views

What license is the GPL License licensed under?

The actual GPL License (that is, the text that contains the words "The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed...") is a document; I would assume therefore that it is under ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How does fair use apply to code snippets?

Is there a size where you can copy under fair use for code you don't have a license for the purpose? For example, what if I copy a snippet that is (normally) 3 lines of code? Is that fair use? If it ...
11
votes
14answers
515 views

Should I worry about 'Javascript piracy'?

If I write a client-side Javascript app (with a little bit of server interaction), how can I prevent people from copying the Javascript files to their own site? Should I, at all?
11
votes
5answers
783 views

Would copyrights drop if I re-write open source project into another language?

I have re-written an open source project from java to haxe, then from haxe compiled to javascript, with totally different UI So, the question is, is the code considered to be mine after rewriting it ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

Do I own copyright of program I made in own time? [closed]

I created a software package that aids electrical engineers with common calculations used on site (substations to be specific). I created the package in my own time, without being asked and without ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

MIT and copyright

I am contributing to a library that is licensed under the MIT license. In the license and in each class file it has a comment at the top saying: Copyright (c) 2011 Joe Bloggs ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Open source code with no license… can I fork it?

A few years ago somebody created a bunch of really awesome and quite popular shell scripts. They don't work in the latest version of Mac OS X, because a filepath has changed. All you need to do is ...
10
votes
4answers
655 views

I have a previous invention (software / framework) that I plan to use on my new job. What happens to my copyright if I improve it during the job?

I have filled that standard form where you list your previous inventions before starting your new job so the employer is legally aware you have the copyright over them. But if I want to use this ...
9
votes
8answers
405 views

Does it make sense to license unit tests?

I am wondering if there are any benefits / risks of (not) putting a licence on test code which mostly consists of unit tests. What do you think? I am particularly interested in licensing under ...
9
votes
4answers
340 views

Are interfaces and method signatures copyright protected?

For example, is it copyright infringement if I write a class called Random with the exact same purpose and method signatures as Microsoft's .Net System.Random class? Does it make a difference what ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to decompile someone else's code for the purpose of learning what they did, and how they did it?

I am not talking about stealing code, or reusing someone's for profit. But I am assuming that if a program or plugin is distributed in a format where I can't readily view the source, that is a ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Can I get sued over duplicating another program's UI?

If I see something I like in another application, and create something similar from the ground up in a commercial product, could I get sued over it? Of course it would be styled to look differently, ...
8
votes
2answers
554 views

Is renewal of MIT license needed on github at the beginning of each year?

I am using the MIT LICENSE in all of my github projects. The second line says 2013 at the top. For having the copyright to hold in future(i.e. after 2013) does it need to be changed each year or is it ...
8
votes
1answer
625 views

What's the copyright status of boilerplate code?

I check Open Source Compliance for commercial code. I have recently found a few examples where the commercial source is matched against quite a few OSS projects. The matches are very similar, but ...
8
votes
5answers
833 views

How do you update copyright notices?

So now it's 2011, and as I carry on coding on our active projects it's time to update some copyright notices. eg. Copyright Widgets Ltd 2010 to Copyright Widgets Ltd 2010, 2011 My question is when ...
8
votes
2answers
668 views

Updating copyright headers each new year just because Jan 1st has passed? [duplicate]

I've seen some projects that - with each new year - start to change all files in their source-tree to update the copyright year. Isn't this just pushing hot air on a level of magnitude? AFAIK: ...
8
votes
1answer
227 views

What if I forgot to include someone elses copyright info in old commit?

Assume I have a public source code repository. Am I violating copyright laws if there's any old commit where I have not yet added all copyright info for other people's open source code? Details: ...
8
votes
3answers
863 views

Automatically update copyright date range from git?

As I write, we're 10 days into 2012. I bet many programmers are editing the copyright string at the top of their source files to something like: // Copyright 2008, 2010-2012 Some Company Unlimited ...
7
votes
10answers
808 views

Can I market an application I wrote at work?

I work at a bank and I developed an in-house web application that helps keep track of past due loans and all the interaction between the bank and the customers. I was recently told by an outside ...
7
votes
4answers
491 views

Is there a difference between “self-plagiarizing” in programming vs doing so as a writer?

I read this Gawker article about how a writer reused some of his older material for new assignments for different magazines. Is there any similar ethical (societal?) dilemma when doing the same ...
7
votes
3answers
575 views

Copyrighting software, templates, etc. under real name or screen name?

My question is hopefully simple--should I copyright my work (art, software, web design, etc.) under my real name or my screen name? My real name and screen name are also easily connected with a bit of ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What copyright date for an update to an open-source project from last year?

In 2011, I released some open-source code that was licensed using the Apache license. As such, all the source files have this boiler plate message at the top: /* Copyright 2011 My Name ...
7
votes
1answer
481 views

How do I dual license?

I'd like to open source a project of mine under GPL v3. Additionally, I'd like to sell a license for those who wish to use the code in a proprietary application. How do I go about releasing my ...
7
votes
1answer
278 views

MIT licence copyright notice for derived works

We're thinking of using some open-source MIT-licensed software in one of our web projects (a jQuery datetime plugin). The first line of the MIT licence is: Copyright (c) [year] [copyright ...
6
votes
1answer
507 views

Does change the license under which Linux is released need the permission of all the copyright holders?

As far as I know Linus holds the copyright to Linux. While looking around in the kernel sources, I see that almost every file has it's own copyright holders. For example the file module.c in the ...
6
votes
3answers
616 views

Could submitting a Pull Request ever constitute accepting a Contributor Licence Agreement?

Some software projects have a Contributor Licence Agreement. The agreement could, for instance, assign copyright of 3rd-party contributions to the original project creator. Could submitting a Pull ...
6
votes
1answer
914 views

How do I display copyright correctly when using components with multiple permissive licenses?

I am writing a commercial application that will make use of some open libraries licensed under different licenses. For example one library will be licensed under the Apache 2.0 license, another will ...
6
votes
1answer
146 views

Copyright/Licensing on a complete rewrite

There was an application for PalmPilots that I liked back when PalmPilots were a thing. I want to recreate it (or at least what I remember of it) for modern mobile devices. The problem is, after ...
5
votes
4answers
346 views

Can I claim the website I made when the back-end technology such as MySQL and PHP weren't invented by me?

That's just an example case. What I'm trying to point out is, how can you claim something (software/website/or any 'ontouch-able' products) as yours while at the same time you are using some existing ...
5
votes
4answers
494 views

How to legally protect yourself from malicious and/or dumb users?

When building a public facing website that allows visitors to post comments, link to media and/or upload media (e.g. audio, video, images) ... what should I do to protect myself legally in the case ...
5
votes
1answer
692 views

Author has inserted copyright into code with gnu public license notice - implications?

I've found a project on Github that I'm interested in contributing to which claims to be open source and has a GPL license included with it. But the original author has added a copyright ...
5
votes
2answers
638 views

How does copyrights apply to source code header files?

It seems I heard that header files are not considered copyrightable since they can only be written one way (like a list of ingredients or facts). So a header file for a specific DLL will always look ...
5
votes
3answers
361 views

What is the preferred way to protect ownership of one's code (e.g. copyright, licenses, etc)

I posted some open source code on soureforge, and someone got in contact with me stating they intended to use my algorithms for a commercial product. I don't want this to happen, what should I do? ...
5
votes
1answer
753 views

Are you allowed to “copy” the GUI/Features of another application

I'm making a app which is based heavily on another application that serves a similar purpose. I'm not actually planning on selling it, but I'm wondering whether it would even be legal for me to sell ...
5
votes
7answers
906 views

Is it legal to reflector some .NET code and use it in a commercial application?

I'm working on a commercial application that requires .NET 4.0 Client Profile, but I need to make a call to HttpUtility.ParseQueryString, which is not included in the Client Profile but it is in the ...
5
votes
2answers
626 views

What is the smallest snippet of code that can be copyrighted?

Obviously something as simple as int i = 0; or for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) can't be copyrighted, but an entire function could be. Where is the line between copyrightable and uncopyrightable?
5
votes
2answers
175 views

Can you copyright code under 2 separate entities?

I am wondering if it is possible to copyright a piece of software under 2 separate entities, allowing both entities full right do whatever they want with the software while not allowing one of the ...
5
votes
4answers
928 views

Does one line of GPLed code make program a “derived work”?

I've recently run into some argument with a person that claims to be a lawyer (I have my suspicions about this not being completely true, though). As far as I know, copying even one line of code from ...
5
votes
1answer
521 views

Copyright notice in CSS or XML files

I'm currently working on an open-source project. Currently, we put our copyright notice at the top of every Java source file. I was wondering whether it was advisable or common practice to put ...