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

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-4
votes
1answer
72 views

Does the company own my work? [on hold]

I started building out some code for my own company when I was approached by another company to come on board and build a similar product. I used what I had as a base but made some major ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

What happens if some server side GPLv2 code is leaked? [on hold]

So, I know that if you use GPLv2 code in some server side code, you do not need to release that code (as long as you're not distributing it, of course :). However, let's assume that you accidentally ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

At what point can I call GPL code my code?

I need some legal advice if possible. So I'm going to be implementing some code under OSS license. I realize that even if I rewrote the implementation, I need to include the license. However a lot ...
0
votes
3answers
359 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
0answers
78 views

Is it legal to bundle OpenJDK with a proprietary application?

I am currently making a video game in Java that will most likely be distributed through Steam. Of course, many Steam users won't have Java already installed in this case. If this happens, I can either ...
34
votes
5answers
8k views

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

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
47
votes
10answers
8k views

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

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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
225 views

Does any well-known license require to make modifications available when only derived *output* is published?

Is there a way to make sure that modifications to free software are released even when no binaries of modified code are conveyed? Though it may sound odd and from what I understand, e.g., GPL requires ...
2
votes
2answers
61 views

GPL - do you need to provide the sourcecode for the dependencies?

Let's say there is a software that is build on basis of a GPL v2 licensed software. This software is being distributed in binary form. GPL requires that the source code and build instructions are made ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Choosing a software license that requires written permission to use commercially

I'm looking for a license that I haven't seen before. I would like a license that allows other people to use my code non-commercially, but unless they have written permission they should not be able ...
9
votes
4answers
734 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
82 views

Uploading freelance projects to GitHub for personal portfolio [closed]

I've been thinking about uploading my future (and current) freelance projects to GitHub to build up my personal portfolio. I use Git to store my projects anyway, but they're set to private. My ...
3
votes
3answers
441 views

How can I close my Open Source project and what is required from me in order to make it closed source?

Let's say I wanted to close my "GPL v 2.0 (or similar)" licensed project, to which I'm the only contributor, and make it closed source. Do I still need to make the existing "GPL v 2.0 (or similar)" ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Enforcing open source software license

How can one enforce open source licensing terms on the usage of its derivative works? For example, if a software is GPL licensed, and I use that software to develop some closed-source application of ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

Should I modify an algorithm I coded for my employer if I remember the code perfectly and want to reuse?

My employer asked me to code a simple algorithm from a general description published by someone on the Internet (no code/pseudocode, just plain words and pictures). So to clarify, it's not my ...
3
votes
2answers
301 views

Can the GitHub pull request process constitute an electronic signature of a CLA?

I appreciate the need for a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) in open source software projects and even understand that some tools are starting to make this process easier (like the low-friction ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

Using Unlicensed Code

Say for example, I was to find a github project that was started but not quite complete or that was complete and I wanted to use that code within a larger project but the author of the code has not ...
1
vote
2answers
87 views

Can one deny specific parties the right to use and modify otherwise open source software?

I have an open source project that has the attention of some peers, and several of them are eager to contribute. There is one amongst them, however, who I wish (largely for comedic purposes; it's a ...
0
votes
2answers
43 views

Web software license for redistribution by our customer [closed]

I work in a web agency; we developed a web application for a customer. Once the app was done, the customer asked us the property rights for our whole app so he can sell it to others. In this case, ...
-2
votes
1answer
139 views

Is it legal to have by default a super user account in a product [closed]

I'm currently developing a web application that I would like to sell worldwide ( It's a Document Management System). For debugging bugs, it would be very helpful to have a default Super Admin Account ...
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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
114 views

If I find a public web API am I allowed to use it in my application? [closed]

If I find a public web API (by public I mean that isn't protected by any type of authentication) what do I need to do so that I am allowed to use it in my own application? Is it enough to read and ...
-2
votes
1answer
73 views

How to enforce copyright in source code for use by others [duplicate]

I have coded a project for private use. I currently have no intention for commercializing it but the plan might change in the future. A friend of mine now wants to use it for his project, and asks if ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Do I need to handle licenses of immediate dependenies?

Let's assume within my project which is GPLv3 based I'm using a single library called a-lib.jar. That jar itself is licensed using Apache v2 license, so I should be fine with the GPL as long as I ...
0
votes
1answer
107 views

How to comply with LGPL 2.1 source-code request?

I have an iOS app that uses the VLCKit framework for it's video player function. Today I got an email from the creator of VLC and in the email is stated this: According to the LGPLv2.1 VLCKit and ...
2
votes
2answers
226 views

Is early binding legally constrained, while late binding is not? [closed]

Is the following true, or do I have misconceptions about late binding and the law? If I do early binding to a code library, I need to reference that library at design time. In the U.S., I'm not ...
6
votes
3answers
726 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Is it acceptable to release a paid application to interface with an open-source backend?

I'm currently in development of an application that consists of two parts: PHP files that a user uploads to their own server, and a smartphone application. Because the PHP files are going to reside ...
2
votes
2answers
249 views

Paid software includes MIT licensed library, does that put my app under MIT too?

If I include MIT licensed source code in my program, am I obliged to provide my whole software under MIT? The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Use Android App Icons for Sharing

I got a question about licensing of android app icons. At the moment I am developing an app and I implemented a share function. The user can select a prefered app to share a text message in a popup ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

MPL: Can I safely build software that uses this license without having my hands tied legally?

I work for a very large company that would like to use RabbitMQ. RabbitMQ is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, v1.1 https://www.rabbitmq.com/mpl.html The problem scenario, as I understand ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Reassigning Ownership Automatically

Are there any software licenses that automate the reassignment of ownership? For instance, in a usual circumstance, you have a license, and then you make all contributors sign off that by ...
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
2k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
217 views

Cloning existing software for commercial purposes - legal implications

I have been asked to clone some existing software for a company. Basically its an old 16 bit DOS console app, which was supplied free of charge in I believe the late 80's. Having replaced the machine ...
0
votes
2answers
124 views

Linking against LGPL - How to share the code?

I'm working on an Open Source software project (LGPL) which uses another LGPL-licensed software. To make it easier for users and developers I'm delivering and linking against the compiled thirdparty. ...
-1
votes
1answer
68 views

Which license should I choose for binary patches? [closed]

I want to publish my work which consists of patches for program binary. I do not have source code of the program and have no way to get it. Since binary patch does not quite meet definition of source ...
3
votes
1answer
313 views

How to Safely Sell Source Code?

I'm a seller with a prospective buyer for some of my source code. I'd like to structure the transaction so as to protect each of our interests, but there's one aspect that I haven't been able to ...
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
152 views

Is there something like Creative Commons licenses for privacy policies?

I've recently read Reading the Privacy Policies You Encounter in a Year Would Take 76 Work Days and was pretty shocked that it was that bad. So I thought how this could be improved. Creative Commons ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Legalities of modifying Ubunt MOTD

I made few modifications to few specific Ubuntu files for showing my own custom messages in place of Ubuntu specific messages. For this, I have made changes to following files ...
-1
votes
2answers
166 views

Do I retain personal usage rights on my code if I use the framework to quick-start a project at a company? [closed]

I have spent a year making a .NET MVC website (in my personal time). I have started a contract for a company 2 weeks ago and thought I'd be kind and used the framework/skeleton from my personal ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Is it fair to patent workarounds? [closed]

While developing a FAT32 driver for my bootloader, I thought to make it complete by adding the long file name support. While watching around for some specification, and I also found articles about ...
0
votes
1answer
244 views

Can I use FontAwesome fonts with my own custom CSS files?

I want to use the WebFont icon library FontAwesome (FA) for all the icons in my project. They are using SIL OFL 1.1 for the fonts and MIT License for the source files. My problem is that, I want to ...
2
votes
3answers
318 views

Is a complete rewrite against the license/eula of this software?

Okey, so I have for a while now been thinking of rewriting the minecraft server, this time in a language called golang. It's just a example project that I can learn a new programming language ...
-2
votes
1answer
265 views

What is the legality of making a mobile app version of an existing card or board game? [closed]

I see that the market is full of mobile apps based on card/board games. For example, do a search for "Taboo" and there are many results which are not published by Hasbro Inc. Is this legal? The top ...