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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0answers
24 views

Genymotion is free for personal use - what does it mean? [on hold]

Genymotion Android emulator is "free for personal use". What does it mean for me? Can I use it to develop Android applications?
3
votes
2answers
117 views

How restrictive are the GPL's linking restrictions really?

To my basic understanding, software licenses only apply when redistributing software. Even if I am wrong about this in general, the GPL states that you need not agree to the GPL in order to receive or ...
2
votes
2answers
181 views

Deny use of my library to compete a certain company

I'm developing a library for reading/writing a file format of a program created by a certain company. The guys from that company were so kind that they provided me with a documentation for their ...
3
votes
2answers
301 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)" ...
24
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6answers
12k 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 ...
13
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
68 views

Is it legal to send a SMS to non-subscriber? [closed]

I'm building an app where a user can purchase a digital gift. The digital gift can be sent to a friend through text message by my app. Does this violate any spamming acts? Would I be looking at any ...
191
votes
23answers
31k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
94 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

What is the “default” software license?

If I release some code and binaries, but I don't include any license at all with it, what are the legal terms that apply by default (in the US, where I am). I know that I automatically have copyright ...
7
votes
4answers
870 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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
118 views

Legal situation regarding source code [closed]

hope you can help We have had a developer working on a project of ours for a long time now; Originally he estimated it as a 12 week build, we are now at 1 year, and many things are making us feel ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Choosing name for open-source project — how to view existing trademarks/names used for other programs? [closed]

I'm trying to choose a good name for a new open-source project. The problem is, there is already so much software in the world that Google search reveals one or more existing programs with every good ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Is “poaching” an acceptable way to get open-source volunteers?

It is well known that tech companies frequently try to recruit employees from competitors. However, is it common for open-source projects to seek potential volunteers from companies in similar ...
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
1answer
58 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
133 views

What do these cocoonJS terms of use mean

I was looking at the terms of use for CocoonJS and noticed this section License Grant. By uploading User Content via the Services, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have ...
-1
votes
2answers
107 views

Using a program to migrate users data from a competitors saas application [closed]

So, here's the conundrum. I have a saas app in a niche legal market. My competitor makes it very difficult for it's users to migrate their data off their servers which consist of mostly legal ...
-4
votes
1answer
104 views

Can I use bluetooth icon in my Android app [closed]

In my app, I'm using bluetooth to connect to a hardware device. Can I simply use the Bluetooth icon to give the user some feedback on the connection state ?
5
votes
7answers
858 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

What is the meaning of MODULE_LICENSE_BSD_LIKE in Android source code? [closed]

In Android source code, we see files like MODULE_LICENSE_APACHE2, MODULE_LICENSE_BSD_LIKE, MODULE_LICENSE_W3C. An outside observer would think that these specify the intended license that applies to ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

Can I build a closed source plugin for a LGPL library?

If I link a program dynamically to a LGPL library (here GTK+/GLib), I'm allowed to distribute the program on my own terms (non-copyleft). Now, the LGPL library provides loadable modules. Place a ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

Software Naming Considerations [closed]

Background I am about to release my first application and am after some ideas regarding what I need to do to insure I don't have any legal issues further down the line (My current issue is around ...
1
vote
2answers
138 views

Optionally Using GPL Library via System API in Closed-Source Application

Please consider the following situation: You write a closed-source application, let's call it A. A depends on a system API (i.e. provided by the OS), that is in turn configurable to use different ...
-1
votes
1answer
114 views

Would this qualify as fair use? [closed]

An online Flash game gets taken down due to the domain that it is hosted on expiring, there are no mirrors available. I have recorded my screen whilst I was playing the game whilst it was still ...
3
votes
2answers
610 views

Are there any industry standards that define code quality?

Our specific situation is that we are creating an agreement between ourselves and another team for shared control or use of a PHP based web application that we have been building. We have a set of ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Can Google use my users data?

I have a webapp that uses Google App Engine and Google Cloud Datastore services. But reading the new Google Cloud terms of services I notice this part: Further, Customer will notify its End Users ...
3
votes
1answer
264 views

NDA's in interviews

I have interviews scheduled for two, large, respectable, somewhat competing, American companies. One of them (the one for which the interview takes place first) has asked that I bring a signed NDA to ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

When using the Apache license, is there still a need for a Contributor License Agreement (CLA)?

I can certainly see the need for CLAs with a terser license like MIT or BSD, but the more verbose Apache seems to already have that type of verbiage in it. I would prefer to not add this level of ...
2
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
76 views

Can I distribute open-source software that uses the syntax/interface of a proprietary program (Stata)?

Stata is a proprietary statistical program used largely by economists. I want to write a basic multiple regression package that uses the same commands as Stata, e.g., regress var1 var2 var3, robust if ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Release as open source after granting usage rights?

I have written software and have granted usage rights to different companies per contract. Is it possible to change the software licence to an open source licence afterwards? At what circumstances is ...
0
votes
3answers
462 views

Legal issues of creating a version of a classic game (Snake) [closed]

I recently created a version of Snake, the classic game popularized by Nokia, and I am planning on using it as an example of my game development skills. I just want to know if there are any copyright ...
5
votes
1answer
682 views

Terminating a freelance contract before completion [closed]

I've been building a large web application for a company. Initially the project owner appointed a Graphic/Web designer to complete all design/front end works. Me and who ever I bring in to complete ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

What to do if my own opensource code greatly resembles another project's code?

I'm writing a Java class, part of an opensource game development framework under the Apache 2.0 license. There is another framework, under the same license, that happens to also have a Java class ...
3
votes
4answers
264 views

Source code vs source files? [closed]

I'm in a situation with my company where this may be an important distinction. Is there any distinction between "source code" and "source files" in a technical context? Is there any distinction ...
1
vote
1answer
51 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

Is it ethical or even legal to track user data/metrics using IP [closed]

This one is a bit tough. It is publicly available information, is it not? But it's can also be used maliciously. So is it legal/ethical to store and/or gather information on users based on IP? It's ...
-5
votes
1answer
155 views

Can Microsoft be held liable for releasing a bad browser? [closed]

I've basically had it with Microsoft releasing a new browser every time they feel like it, I've had to re-code and debug countless websites to comply with new features that Microsoft has implemented ...
11
votes
6answers
537 views

Turning in code you developed in your company as homework assignments

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Is there a certain way that I have to include a library and its license?

I know this may be a dumb question, but I'm only 15 so I don't really know how the legal part of it works. When I choose a .dll to be included in my project, Visual Studio only includes the .dll file ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

Signing redistributed files

In order to submit a desktop application for the Windows 8 app store, you need to digitally sign any driver or .exe associated with the application. However, the application I was trying to submit ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Using MS-PL licensed library for internal company use

I want to use a MS-PL licensed library in a proprietary software, but it'll run inside my company, with no external distribution. Does the license allows this kind of usage or it constitutes a ...
18
votes
5answers
663 views

Found a better solution to a problem at work - should I deter from posting the code snippet online?

I think most of us, programmers, used Stack Overflow to solve every day problems: looked for an efficient algorithm to do something. Now imagine a situation: you have a problem to solve. Googled a ...
0
votes
1answer
175 views

Making Agile and DevOps methodology compatible with PCI requirements [closed]

Would like to hear from those working in a PCI compliance environment and is practicing agile development and devops methodology, how you maintain compliance with PCI requirements. Specifically, what ...
4
votes
2answers
118 views

Are there Any Concerns with Importing Document Files From a Competing Product?

I have a new product that serves the same purpose as my competitor's long-standing product. One thing I have considered doing is allowing my program to import document files created by their product ...
24
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
884 views

Does an Open Source license exist that allows me to retain rights to revoke usage of software/source at any time, for any reason, and without warning?

Does an Open Source license exist that allows me to retain rights to revoke usage of software/source at any time, for any reason, and without warning? I want to allow others to use my software and ...