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

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1
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1answer
63 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
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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 ...
15
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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 ...
0
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3answers
167 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
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2answers
110 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. ...
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1answer
64 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
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1answer
271 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
279 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 ...
88
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14answers
10k 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 ...
10
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1answer
143 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
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1answer
65 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 ...
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2answers
153 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
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1answer
107 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
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1answer
92 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
227 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
104 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
33 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
83 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
581 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
134 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
328 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)" ...
26
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6answers
14k 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 ...
18
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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 ...
194
votes
23answers
33k 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 ...
25
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
146 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
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1answer
95 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
7k 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
246 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
896 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
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1answer
72 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
34 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
210 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
669 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
47 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
289 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
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1answer
90 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
181 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
77 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
78 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
670 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
1k 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
177 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
275 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
252 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 ...
10
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6answers
557 views

Turning in code you developed in your company as homework assignments [closed]

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
84 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 ...