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
0answers
22 views

List of guidelines required for all iOS apps [on hold]

I am developing my first iOS app. I am trying to get my head round the guidelines all iOS apps should adhere to. (That is, I am excluding feature-specific guidelines such as for Apple Pay, Apple Watch ...
2
votes
1answer
60 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
724 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
78 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
427 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
97 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
135 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
288 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
147 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
83 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
42 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
137 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
111 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
71 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
95 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
223 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
706 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
117 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
192 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
48 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
103 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
211 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
122 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
308 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
300 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
151 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
164 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
113 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
215 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
301 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
239 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Using a binary from a project that violates GPL

There is an open source project which uses GPLv2. It had numerous releases that complied with GPL in the past where source code was available for given binaries. The newest source code is about 18 ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

Distributing GPL licensed software that optionally links to non-GPL licensed libraries

I can find lots of information regarding the restrictions imposed on linking GPL licensed libraries from non-GPL licensed software. However, I'd like to do the opposite - I'd like to distribute some ...
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. ...
3
votes
2answers
143 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
184 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 ...
28
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
196
votes
23answers
35k 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 ...
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 ...
29
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
274 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 ...