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

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0
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4answers
275 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
171 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
195 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
253 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
282 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
385 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 ...
193
votes
23answers
32k 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
486 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
330 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
553 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
678 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
293 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
216 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
426 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
540 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
672 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
2k 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
703 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
555 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
675 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
322 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
244 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
157 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
722 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
98 views

Intellectual Property Rights - Starting a new Job [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Employers and Intellectual Property Im starting a new Job tommorow and there is terms in the "Standard Terms" document that has me a little worried. These terms are ...
7
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 ...
10
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
307 views

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

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
473 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 ...
85
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
856 views

Can a client sue you for “broken” software if you're a contractor paid hourly? [closed]

I've been working for a client for over a year and a half at an hourly rate. He's been pretty happy with the work thus far, and he has paid all invoices without objection, but his business has ...
3
votes
1answer
330 views

How to deal with the MPL in a pragmatic way?

Until recently I always avoided the use of open-source code in my applications, because of the legal headache it gives me. I rather spent a fair amount of money and not worry about attribution (since ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it legal to reuse code in other customers' projects?

I'm working as a independent software developer for mobile applications. A customer asks me to develop a mobile app. So at the moment I'm calculating the time and effort to write an offer for this ...
4
votes
2answers
292 views

Is it OK to include another person's open-source module in a project that you are uploading to GitHub?

This seems like it would be an obvious "yes". However, I just want to be sure and I've tried googling around to no avail. I am learning Python/Django and uploading all of the projects I'm creating to ...
3
votes
3answers
241 views

Software licenses in practice

Almost all questions and information on both SO and "Google" describes how different licenses works and what license to choose for your work? But how do they work in reality. Almost everyone I have ...
44
votes
19answers
4k views

Form screenshot for legal proof of clicking one of the checkboxes?

We got a request from one of our customers, and since I've never encountered such a request before, I don't even know where to start looking. Our customer is a network of colleges, and we're building ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Do I really need a disclaimer for free software?

If I publish some software on my website which can be downloaded and used free of charge, do I still need a disclaimer? I mean, I am not even selling anything, there is no contract, so why should ...
7
votes
4answers
415 views

Where can I find a legal “permission to work on open source” document?

One of the things I really like about my current job is that we developers are encouraged to make open source contributions. However, this encouragement has always been verbal. I've read some horror ...
20
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
696 views

Is it legal or ethical for me to use my previous employer's code in a new project?

I participated and wrote a large amount of code in a project which my current company outsourcing to my former company last year. After that I left my former company and recently join in my current ...
8
votes
4answers
387 views

On the frontier between work and home

I think we've all been there: You hear of someone say "hey, wouldn't it be nice if platform X had feature Y?" You look around (on SO!), the feature really doesn't exist, even though it probably would ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

How should I license code written for a startup without a contract?

I wrote a fair amount of code for a startup, but I haven't signed a contract before doing so. The only document that I signed with them does not mention the fact that I have to pass the rights on the ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

Rights and use of developed software [closed]

I have been working on a piece of software for a company, that they wish to resell. There was an mail-based agreement upon a flat hourly rate for my work, and eager me chose to accept a rather low ...
4
votes
4answers
798 views

GPL: 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 ...
23
votes
11answers
1k views

Should I accept to write unsecure code if my employer requests me to do so?

My employer asked me to implement a feature that would require storing passwords in clear text in a database (or using an obscure encrypt/decrypt function stored in a binary, which is a bit better, ...
4
votes
3answers
840 views

Is donationware non-commercial?

I use quite some "non-commercial" applications when working on software projects. For clarification, I mean developing applications here, for example smartgit, not libraries or anything that gets ...