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

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3
votes
4answers
585 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
158 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
294 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
387 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
447 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
426 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
535 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
290 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
251 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
911 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
743 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
139 views

Getting your user agreement right

I'm planning to provide a little service with which you can control your computer from anywere. It exists out of a server (which I will be providing), and two clients (a controlled one and a ...
8
votes
4answers
305 views

What do I need to know before approaching a web developer/ developing team?

I have little experience in website programming. However, I have an idea for a website that I would like to make real. It would have many of the same features that a site such as TripAdvisor uses, but ...
1
vote
3answers
90 views

Mixed licencing for an application

I'm currently writing an application which I am thinking of open sourcing once I'm out of beta. However, I would like to maintain ownership of the icons and other graphics (they're actually the work ...
22
votes
8answers
700 views

Are IT and software industry getting more and more litigious?

The last couple of years I've been observing an exponential growth in the news related IT companies and individuals taking their cases to court, on one side, and the questions concerning legal matters ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
494 views

Am I competing with a client? is it fair?

I've been working as part of my service company for a client (ClientA) for a year now on building a platform. A few weeks ago another client (clientB) asked me for a quote for building a similar ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it legal for me to contribute to open source software while employed?

I work for a large corporation and I want to keep my skills fresh. I think contributing to an open source project would help, especially if I ever want a job at a startup. I have heard that large ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it legal to disassemble a Microsoft dll and post the result on my blog?

I'm writing an article for my blog about undocumented functions which exist in the dwmapi.dll library. I want to post the result of the disassembled code to explain how the names and parameters of ...
2
votes
1answer
188 views

copyright notice for client work

I'm wondering what's the best way to add copyright/info into source for a client. Normally I do projects for myself and release them as GPL however I'm working with a client and not sure how to give ...
0
votes
1answer
277 views

Legal Requirements for Software Makers

Since the Legal site of Stack Exchange isn't ready quite yet, I figured this would be the best place to ask this question. What are, if any, the legal requirements (or online resources for finding ...
2
votes
4answers
268 views

So what happens with closed-source law?

Lets say Alice Co. writes a program, and Bob Co. hires a contractor to copy it, and put it on their platform? What is the general legal recourse in these cases? I say general, because most of us are ...
3
votes
5answers
218 views

Is TOS Necessary?

Let us say that someone is hosting a web application where others can come and register and use for free(like stackoverflow or stackexchange). Is a terms of service agreement necessary? Like this TOS ...
4
votes
4answers
463 views

How much code does one have to derive from another source before the license rules are applicable?

In an attempt to not re-invent the wheel, I've been working on a CMS's text-sanitization layer. I found that SimplePie had a really good one in use with it's RSS feed, but it had a lot of features ...
4
votes
4answers
366 views

What's the canonical retort to “You can't submit a patch to this open source project because you're not a committer”?

Some projects only allow committers to submit patches because they wish to keep their IP "clean." not only can non-committers not submit patches, but committers are forbidden from looking at your code ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

Code and intellectual property

Years ago I developed a website in Flash for one of my clients. I was in charge of code/animation and also maintaining Hosting and Domain. I also have a basic contract with my client and in the ...
2
votes
2answers
289 views

Should I prepare to compete with a company that doesn't hire me?

I've been interviewing with a software company lately, and in my most recent (and final) interview I learned some more about the project I'd be working on: how it's architected, what needs ...
5
votes
7answers
943 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Should I sign an NDA and IP contract without an expiry date?

I work in a small software development company. I just received a NDA and IP contract to sign, but it doesn't have an expiry date. Does this mean that it's a lifetime agreement with the corporation? ...
5
votes
1answer
387 views

What are the legal requirements for verifying a user's age? (United States)

I'm working on a website where we expect many of our users to be under 18. Our lawyer told us that anyone under 18 will need their parents to agree to the Terms of Service, since they aren't legally ...
5
votes
3answers
410 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? ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

When porting code, must I follow the original license?

I'm an iOS developer and I've found myself porting code from several other languages recently for various projects and it got me thinking about code licensing. When porting code, is that considered ...
2
votes
4answers
123 views

Licensing OS code, is it possible to protect certain blocks of code?

I'm working on a piece of code which is free to use, but when a license code (or serial key or any other term like that) has been bought will remove some advertising. The code will be freely ...
9
votes
1answer
296 views

Using my own code in freelance projects

I have been into freelance business for more than 2 years. While doing projects for other people, I've build a compilation of common tasks that I implement in projects and put them into code. It's ...
8
votes
5answers
426 views

Modules already committed, client doesn't pay, what should I do?

So the story is simple, early stage EU portal hired me to do some extra modules. I got all the source code for local testing, did my job, committed new code. Now I am out of this project but client ...
2
votes
2answers
307 views

Patent in Europe

I'd like to build and sell/or free a software based on ffmpeg and some other mp3 library lgpl, So I know in U.s.a. there's a patent and royalty problem, But if I live in Europe I'd like to know if I ...
3
votes
1answer
590 views

Why is (Ogg) Vorbis not automatically supported by Windows?

Vorbis was never threatened by MPEG LA, so it is undoubtedly completely patent free. (MPEG LA never misses a chance to spread patent FUD) Windows supports mp3, so it isn’t because they want to push ...
5
votes
4answers
498 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
254 views

Do I need to notify a user if I am using statistics software in an iPhone app?

I am currently creating a (very simple) Objective-C client to send basic statistical data to my server for an iPhone app - just things like the state of the app (first-launch or launch, error, etc), ...
23
votes
8answers
943 views

How would you decline to have your name put on a software patent? [closed]

Your company wants to patent something you implemented. You do not agree with the concept of patenting software. How do you proceed? Would it be acceptable to file the patent, but keep your name off ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

License for freeware but closed source application

I have developed a simple application which I want to put release for free but I'm not planning releasing the source code. I want the application to be freely available but I do not want anyone to ...
4
votes
2answers
83 views

As the current draft stands, what is the most significant change the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” will provoke?

A current draft of the "National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace" has been posted by the Department of Homeland Security. This question is not asking about privacy or constitutionality, ...
13
votes
11answers
898 views

Are these company terms good for a programmer or should I move?

Here are some of the terms and conditions set forward by my employer. Does these make sense for a job like programming? No freelancing in any way even in your free time outside company work ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Hobbyist programmer releasing software with a donate button

I'd like to start this with a disclaimer that I realize that a full, clear-cut answer should be sought out by a lawyer. I am more so curious about what other users of this community have done Say ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

Legal aspects of Java specification implementations in other programming languages

I am planning to implement an official Java specification in a different programming language. Would this be a copyright violation? Hypothetical examples: a JMX "wrapper" library for C++ which can ...
7
votes
8answers
302 views

How would you want to see software intellectual property protected? [closed]

Reading answers to this question - and many other discussions of software patents - it seems that most of us as programmers feel that software patents are a bad idea. At the same time we are in the ...
30
votes
6answers
19k views

Can an algorithm be patented?

So can an algorithm be patented? I saw this statement which made me think: Everybody would abstain from patenting the improvements of contour dot algorithm for at least several years, say ...
14
votes
8answers
504 views

Do licenses matter if there's nobody around to enforce them?

Suppose that the original creators can't (or won't) enforce a license on their software/code, but that work is still popular. I guess if you want to visualize it, I'll throw out a convoluted ...
2
votes
1answer
401 views

How would somebody uphold a license on “illegal” code?

First off, I want to say that this is purely hypothetical; it's just a scenario that came to mind. I am not looking for personal legal advice, but rather, I'm trying to gain a better understanding of ...