Questions about legal problems which may arise during software development or questions about software law, patents and copyrights in general.

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7
votes
4answers
1k views

What constitutes a programming language and how does one copyright a programming language?

I've decided to create a programming language of my own, mostly just for fun. However, I got interested in the legal aspect of it all. You can, for example, licence specific programs under specific ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

What exactly does the condition in the MIT license imply?

To quote the license itself: Copyright (C) [year] [copyright holders] Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

When can I publish a software tool written at work?

I'm working on a software problem at work that is fairly generic, but I can't find a library I like to solve it, so I'm considering writing one myself (at least a bare-bones version). I'll be writing ...
0
votes
1answer
533 views

Is it legal and ethical to reverse engineer software to port it to another system? [closed]

I love gaming, I love games that allow modding and I love linux. But the fact that most games right now are targeted for windows (consoles aside), most mods and modding tools are also targeted for ...
2
votes
3answers
280 views

Because of over incumbent patents, is it possible to safely develop any software without the risk of legal action? [closed]

Take this System and method for restricting user access rights on the internet based on rating information stored in a relational database There are hundreds of thousands of them out there. So ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Is it legal to take the icon/graphic file found online to use in software project?

For example, like this icon website: http://www.iconspedia.com/ There is a lot icon there, (I just can't draw myself, I am not good at it.....), I wonder if is OK to use them in my software project? ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Application of LGPL license on a simple algorithm

The "scope" of the GNU license is troubling me : I know it has been answered many times ( here, here, ... ) but shouldn't we take into consideration the complexity and originality of a code before ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Does license matter if I host a maven repository?

If I make a maven repository available for others to use, do I have to get permission form the authors of those software that I host in my repository even if they are free software? Can I host free ...
1
vote
2answers
512 views

GPLv2 - Multiple AI chess engines to bypass GPL

I have gone through a number of GPL-related questions, the most recent being this one: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3248823/legal-question-about-the-gpl-license-net-dlls/3249001#3249001 I'm ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

To refund or not to refund this client? [closed]

I'd really appreciate your advice on an ongoing project. I presented my client with a proposal and design samples which he approved, and he paid in full instead of the 50% upfront deposit as I'd ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it really free to deploy SharpDevelop apps?

I'm trying SharpDevelop to develop c# applications. Regardless of the language and the IDE, is it free to deploy applications that use WinForms? I've been developing with MonoDevelop just because it ...
-1
votes
1answer
292 views

Extracting main article from webpage/feed. Is it legal/ethical? [closed]

There are some applications like Readability and Pocket, which are letting users to read the main content of web pages, in a clean interface or such. But the articles should be bookmarked from another ...
1
vote
2answers
346 views

May I remove ads from feed in my news reader app? [closed]

I'm creating a News Reader app for Tablets and PCs. My app is fetching data from news sources by RSS feed of websites (in the server-side). But some of these sites are showing some advertising ...
6
votes
3answers
175 views

What do I need to learn to decide on rename/recompile source package names because of company rebranding?

My company is currently at a rebranding process and the brand names have been used in the sources' package names but these names are only visible to developers who maintain this code so nobody from ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

GPL - what is distribution?

An interesting point came up on another thread about alleged misappropriation of a GPL project. In this case the enterprise software was used by some large companies who essentially took the code, ...
1
vote
2answers
314 views

Can I use code in my own projects that I have written for someone else? [closed]

In the past I did a freelancing project for someone where I wrote a couple of image filters. Nothing fancy, and a very very low cost project for them. I was wondering, if I wish to use these in a ...
3
votes
3answers
252 views

Developing software for a company outside a company [closed]

I work for an IT company as a developer. We are currently working on a large software project, a multi-vendor automatic database clustering solution. We've upheld good coding standards and as a result ...
0
votes
4answers
396 views

can gpl code contain more restrictively licensed code? (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

There is a wordpress theme I am modifying to create my own derived work. This original wordpress theme has the GPLv2 licence in it's root directory, so I assume that the entire theme is GPL code. ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Software Licensing Particulars

I have spent a lot of time examining the various (major) software licenses and ultimately have decided upon using the MIT Licenses for my open source projects, and the Microsoft Reference License ...
2
votes
4answers
199 views

Which is the correct licence?

So I found this very interesting library in Google Code site. It turns out it is advertised as "LGPL", which is good enough for me. However, in the README file of the library the author contradicts ...
1
vote
2answers
268 views

Oracle has some very helpful and free code…I think

I found that some of the code that Oracle uses is very useful so I don't have to re-invent the wheel. Given this is at the top of the file where the code in question is: /* * Copyright (c) 1997, ...
6
votes
3answers
299 views

How to get a legal advice for a open source project ? [closed]

I have a question about open source software. Questions: Where do you get legal advice from? Do you have to find a lawyer specialised in software issues right from the bat, or do you get legal ...
4
votes
3answers
437 views

Who owns the code, who owns the algorithm, who owns the idea?

This question got me thinking what products of the programming effort belong to the employer, and what don't. The two extremes are (0) the code - it apparently belongs to the employer and (1) the ...
199
votes
23answers
36k views

Should you keep a copy of all the code you write?

I know the company you work for owns the code and obviously you will get arrested if you try to sell it. But is it uncommon for developers to keep a personal copy of the code they wrote (for future ...
7
votes
4answers
505 views

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

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
360 views

CodePlex and Google Code Concerns

I was wondering about the risks involved with hosting on Microsoft CodePlex and Google Code. Let's say I host a project on one of them and it ends up taking off and getting tons of downloads. I was ...
6
votes
3answers
759 views

Does using GCC specific builtins qualify as incorporation within a project?

I understand that linking to a program licensed under the GPL requires that you release the source of your program under the GPL as well, while the LGPL does not require this. The terminology of the ...
5
votes
4answers
776 views

Am I personally liable for bugs in medical software I've developed as an employee? [closed]

Some background: I'm employed at a small, Australia-based web agency that is dipping it's toe into Mobile Application development (iOS). The project that I'm working on provides a way for users to ...
1
vote
3answers
299 views

Is making my own copyright licence safe?

I've seen various open source libraries (actually I've seen it for assets as well) having a home-baked license in the following manner : SomeGuy's License:1. You can use this code freely in ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Can I use metro style interface in my own web application?

I am wondering if I would need to license the Metro style or if I can just freely use it in my own applications. I mean, is it patented or protected in any way that would prevent me from building my ...
5
votes
3answers
218 views

Choosing a restrictive license to be in compliance, but not enforcing it

I'm very curious about this: Lets say that you have to use the GPL in your library because some dependency uses it or (if your library is fork) the upstream library uses GPL. Now GPL doesn't play well ...
2
votes
4answers
488 views

Is it legal to use icons from some other application while developing?

On my machine while developing I'm using icons from other application (in particular MS Paint and Paint.NET) as sign for the user that if he chooses to open that file (with our own internal command) ...
2
votes
4answers
561 views

Can I legally use the icon of a different software?

Suppose I am including a feature in my image-viewing software, which opens an image in Photoshop ('Send to Photoshop'), using Photoshop's OLE automation framework. Am I allowed to use the icon of ...
17
votes
1answer
749 views

Is C#-4.0 an open standard?

The Ecma-334 (ISO/IEC 23270:2006) standard corresponds to the version 2.0 of the language. Specification of version 4.0 is freely available from Microsoft, but Microsoft's open specifications list ...
29
votes
1answer
4k views

What is wrong with the Unlicense?

I have often heard that I should not use the Unlicense because of issues regarding putting things into the public domain. However, I do not understand why this would be an issue for the Unlicense. The ...
2
votes
1answer
902 views

How to fulfill EASTL license

I'm integrating EASTL into my game programming framework. I did some changes to it since I have my own memory management sub-system and now I'm wondering what I need to do to not break the license ...
9
votes
6answers
568 views

Turning in code you developed in your company as homework assignments [closed]

I'm currently running a start-up with a buddy and I noticed that some of my university assignments could be finished by simply copying some code from some of the programs we've developed. Are there ...
0
votes
2answers
163 views

Developing assistance tools for games, is it legal against the game creator? [closed]

Imagine if for a realtime strategy game, for reaserch and some fun a tool has been made which monitors the minimap of the game and warns the user if the enemy movement is being detected. Does ...
6
votes
4answers
851 views

GPL vs plugin interfaces not designed with a specific application in mind

I am not seeking or in need of legal advice, but an interesting though experiment came to my mind. Imagine the following situtation (I cannot really think about a concrete example and I am unsure if ...
7
votes
3answers
329 views

Submitting software to a competition, it becomes their property?

So I'm about to submit a game to a competition, but as I looked through the rules a chunk grabbed my attention: All Entries become the sole and exclusive property of Sponsor and will not be ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
288 views

Copyrights concerning code snippets and larger amounts of code [closed]

I am designing a public code repository. Users will be allowed to post and edit whatever amount of code they want, from code snippets to entire multi-file projects. I have a few major legal concerns ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

Which license would I use for my library code?

I have signed a Non-competitive agreement but I would like to be able to reuse some code across all projects that I work on for this company. So, which license can be used for my library code that ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Simple & short license notice for proprietary code

I have written several Java utilities that I am now consolidating in a single, more organized code base. I have never distributed this code, so the only copies are currently in my possession. While I ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I justify my disclaimer of warranties license to a customer?

I'm selling a software that lets users manipulate critical information. In my licence contract (redacted by a lawyer specialized in this field), I've got a standard clause reading : THIS SOFTWARE ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Legal ramifications of use of the JavaScript trademark?

It's widely known that the name "JavaScript" is trademarked by Oracle (formerly a trademark of Sun, formerly a trademark of Netscape). However, others seem to have no problem using the JavaScript ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Taking an open source project to closed source

How is it legally possible to take a project initially released as open source back to closed source? Especially one licensed with the GPL any version.
0
votes
3answers
361 views

Can a company deny that you teach people how to use a software under MIT License? [closed]

There's a way that a company/foundation that own an specific MIT licensed software (framework) deny or prevent you from teaching it to other programmers and make profit from it? And what if this ...
2
votes
7answers
499 views

Is it legal/ethical to post production code? [closed]

This may sound silly or obvious but this is my case; I work at a company that recently implemented SAP and I was the responsible to generate/migrate the master data of the company which let me learn a ...
86
votes
16answers
5k views

Regulation of the software industry [closed]

Every few years someone proposes tighter regulation for the software industry. This IEEE article has been getting some attention lately on the subject. If software engineers who write programs ...