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

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5
votes
3answers
264 views

How does one minimize or prevent User lawsuits?

I work in a bunch of tools that do things to customer's computers. Some of these tools allow scripting, which allows someone to run a script to nuke files, registry keys, or the like. Of course, if ...
2
votes
2answers
575 views

Would I be in violation of these icons free license on my Android application?

Since there isn't yet a Q&A site for legal issues and since this is related to an Android app, I'm posting it here, instead of Stack Overflow cause this is not code related. I want to separate ...
23
votes
14answers
3k views

I'm a contract developer and I think I'm about to get screwed [closed]

I do contract development on the side. You could say that I'm a contract developer? Considering I've only ever had one client I'd say that's not exactly the truth - more like I took a side job and ...
2
votes
2answers
647 views

browsing with curl instead of firefox (or any other browser) [closed]

My company has 2 Intranets (one technical, and one commercial), I am the administrator of the technical Intranet. We need to see if a client has a contract for a service we offer. As such, for ease ...
49
votes
13answers
2k views

Is it legal to recreate/opensource a program that you previously coded for another company

At my previous job I created a generic dashboard for automating tasks and it that turned out to be quite useful - and of course my previous employer owns all the code I wrote while I worked there. Now ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Can Google search results be reused?

I am trying to develop an application much like a search engine and I will like to use Google search results and refactor them in my application. Can I re-issue Google search results my own way and ...
47
votes
10answers
6k views

Legal issues with an NDA that I do not want to sign

I've been given a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to sign by my current employer that I do not want to sign. It is incredibly open ended and I feel that it should have been a condition of my initial ...
0
votes
6answers
295 views

Who owns this work?

I worked for a small company as a long term contractor making websites and other such things. A client comes along, pays what he said was "A lot of money" for me to spend a week doing his website. ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

Do I still own accreditation of work despite not owning copyright?

I completed some work at University for a website design. I understand that unless I request IP from the University they own full rights to the design. The clause is stated as below: 18.1 All ...
1
vote
3answers
229 views

What's happens if I develop a program taking inspiration from another GNU GPL application?

My friend and I are planning to develop a tiny and simple CMS by taking some inspirations from an already existing GNU GPL CMS. We take the ideas and try to develop it as simply we can, is it ...
0
votes
4answers
327 views

Is it possible to make something open-source without publishing it?

I've been working on some piece of software while being "employed" by company A. I now want to continue working on the same software while being employed by company B. Company B wants the software to ...
2
votes
1answer
255 views

Anyone experienced in Gaming/Gambling industry?

Are there any legal hassles when you work in these Casino kinds of industry? I'm offered a job and I like it owing to clever algorithms and multi-threaded enviornment. I'd like some advice on legal ...
8
votes
10answers
739 views

Legal proof of when a feature been implemented

For various reasons I need to supply "proof" my company's lawyer that I implemented a feature by a certain date. I have used source control since the late 90s and even the oldest databases are still ...
13
votes
3answers
886 views

As a contractor, am I liable for bugs? (Do I need Liability Insurance?) [closed]

I've got a neighbor who has been trying to sell me insurance for my side business. His claim is that I could be sued by my clients if the software I produce does not perform properly or has bugs in ...
5
votes
3answers
263 views

What level of threat does selling an app on an app store present to a non-US company?

Can anyone point me to an article or an informed discussion about US software patents affecting a non-US company who is selling their products on an American app store/marketplace? My company has ...
4
votes
3answers
148 views

Doctoral research and work for a company with similar profile

What are the common guidelines and best practices for developers who are studying for their master or doctoral degrees, while still working to earn the living in a commercial entity. Especially, if ...
5
votes
1answer
327 views

Who is responsible for doing a patent search?

If a client requests that a particular feature is added into their website software, who is responsible for searching and recognising that a patent royalty has to paid? client web developer This ...
1
vote
4answers
661 views

What is the clause in an employee contract that says they own all your code?

I am looking at my employee contract and I can't seem to figure out where it might say that they own all the code that I write, be it at work or at home. Any examples of what the wording could be ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Legality/Ethics of crawling a site to basically copy its database? [closed]

A potential freelance client wants a copy of all the phone numbers in an entire country of several million people in CSV format for their telemarketing system. They have sent me a link to an online ...
1
vote
7answers
1k views

What part of your work does a company own when you program for them? [closed]

Say you're a software engineer, what does the company actually own of your work? Do they own the source code, the binary, both? What about code you do outside of the workplace? Do they have any claim ...
0
votes
1answer
170 views

Who would be responsive for damage caused after cloning foreign application but NOT running it as freelancer?

This is just theoretical question, without context. In case somebody hire me (as freelancer (I'm A1)) client (A2) wants to develop CLONE of an existing application from B1 company after some time ...
0
votes
3answers
207 views

When developing a plugin or a standalone software app can I include in its name the name of the host application?

I am making a commercial software product and I want to publish it soon. In my product title can I have words like Photoshop, Visual Studio, Delphi, etc? For example, a full name would be something ...
1
vote
2answers
271 views

Storing T&C acceptance in database - best practice

I wondered if anyone could advise on the best way of storing a users acceptance of the Terms and Conditions in the database. I am in the UK if this changes anything. I have had the T&Cs drawn up ...
7
votes
3answers
397 views

For very short programming jobs, how should one approach the concept of a contract?

I am wondering what other contractors in the field of software development do when a potential client approaches them with a spec.. in terms of contracts. In my experience, clients will often be happy ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Java: legal issues related to writing a commercial app in Java [closed]

I developed scientific software for use in my own scientific research. I am considering porting it to another language such as Java, and releasing a closed-source, commercial version of it for sale. ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Do we need a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?

We're going to meet a potential new client today and between ourselves started discussing the need for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and whether we need one at this juncture. In this case we ...
2
votes
6answers
955 views

Is Tracking Software Usage Illegal? [closed]

Let's say if I am doing desktop application, and I am interested to know whether our software really gets used or not. Is it alright to insert in code that tracks whether our software is used, for how ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

How can proprietary code be protected when collaborating with an external company?

Imagine I have a code base and I'm obsessively concerned about the protection and privacy of that code. If I were to hire a freelancer to work on that code base, I'd probably have the freelancer sign ...
0
votes
1answer
171 views

How to give life to my idea which belong to my company?

I wonder, what options do I have in the following situation. In the course of the several projects I realised the need in some auxilary software product (related to testing of the main products). I ...
1
vote
1answer
319 views

Legal concern over “borrowed” code

A company my friend works for (let's call him Me) recently unveiled a new face for their internal "networking" website. This new face looks remarkably like Facebook, and indeed, examination of the ...
0
votes
2answers
103 views

Question about the no-endorsment clause on the BSD license

I'm developing a non-free library and I want to use Bcrypt.Net in it. The clause in question: Neither the name of BCrypt.Net nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote ...
6
votes
5answers
203 views

Can I use the test suite from an open source project to verify that my own 'compatible library' is compatible?

The question Is it illegal to rewrite every line of an open source project in a slightly different way, and use it in a closed source project? makes me wonder what would be considered a clean-room ...
85
votes
14answers
9k views

Is it illegal to rewrite every line of an open source project in a slightly different way, and use it in a closed source project?

There is some code which is GPL or LGPL that I am considering using for an iPhone project. If I took that code (JavaScript) and rewrote it in a different language for use on the iPhone would that be ...
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
556 views

Selling an open source project: some issues

I am the creator / main developer of a small sized open source (PHP) project (GPL3). Currently there is a development team of 3 people (me included). This team has been quite active for some time, but ...
2
votes
3answers
321 views

Charging for Open-Source

Is it viable to charge for an open-source product? Both legally and financially, it seems like a very strange thing to do. However, I keep hearing people say that it's possible. Are there even any ...
10
votes
10answers
1k views

Giving employer power of attorney to obtain your inventions

Is it normal/just for a software company to ask for power of attorney to ensure they obtain patents on anything you invent while you are employed as a programmer? Update: In my case, I went back ...
31
votes
5answers
7k views

Is it a bad idea to sell Android apps in the Android Market under your real name?

I'm just getting started in Android development and am working on a few small "practice" apps. As an example, one is a live wallpaper. The others are similar in terms of development effort. When ...
3
votes
4answers
535 views

Code Plagiarism: How hard or how easy to detect this?

Suppose you want to develop an application, in midst of development you find out that one similar application already exists, highly recognized and used. It's a cross platform application but it's ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

Example of an agreement with the client

I've started my company in UK. Used to work as a freelancer, therefore legal issues didn't use to be a big headache. Now, I'd like to see an example of the document a company would sign with a client ...
0
votes
2answers
124 views

Can I use the code created by another agency when working for a client?

Let's assume that my client (C) has a corporate website, created by an agency (A). A created a pretty simple, yet well designed website which uses plain HTML and no backend to edit any of the data. C ...
1
vote
2answers
274 views

Distribution Licensing for Windows XP Junction tool

My application needs to create a directory symbolic link in Windows XP to get around the file path length limitation of ~256 characters. Windows XP does not have this functionality built-in. I had ...
1
vote
4answers
335 views

Licensing & EULAs

First off, is there any difference between a license and a EULA? Second, can a developer write his own license or is there some special legal crap you have to do. Finally is there some kind of ...
1
vote
1answer
407 views

using / linking to MS-PL licensed code from (A)GPLv3

I have some trouble understanding MSPL (Microsoft Permissive License) conditions regarding linking to / using a library under MSPL from a project of mine which I want to license on either AGPLv3 or ...
5
votes
3answers
371 views

Can I use corporate-licensed tool at home/for personal projects?

Normally, the company where a programmer works has corporate licensed tools which are useful for programmer (ex: proprietary IDEs, reflectors, diagramming tools, office tools and PDF makers, etc.) ...
4
votes
6answers
503 views

Is it legal/ethical to collect and release some types of anonymous usage data without consent?

The type of data I'm hoping to collect is a little specific, and unfortunately I'm under NDA and the data is a core part of the business plan so I'm not at liberty to post it online. I've come up with ...
6
votes
5answers
275 views

How are software licenses applied?

I have created a small and helpful project that I'd like to upload to a public repository and share under the FreeBSD license. What are the common steps I should make to apply the license to my code? ...
1
vote
2answers
249 views

Using CC Music in my project

Well, I am not sure about is this is the right StackExchange site to ask this, but since can accept question about Software law, i think it's almost on topic here. If I use creative commons music for ...
16
votes
3answers
868 views

How do I comply with the EU Cookie Directive?

On 26 May 2011, a new EU directive comes into force that users accessing websites should now be asked for permission to allow the website to store cookies containing information about them and their ...
9
votes
5answers
718 views

How to protect yourself from being sued by patents?

I've had a few software ideas before that could probably be patented.(decided not to pursue any of them, however). Basically, I don't want these ideas patented though. I don't care if someone else ...