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

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21
votes
7answers
781 views

Does making source code available affect your ability to generate revenue?

We’re working on a .Net framework which ultimately amounts to a single DLL. We intend to charge for commercial use of the framework, but make it free for open source/non-commercial use. The rough ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

GPL - what is distribution?

An interesting point came up on another thread about alleged misappropriation of a GPL project. In this case the enterprise software was used by some large companies who essentially took the code, ...
50
votes
13answers
2k views

Is it legal to recreate/opensource a program that you previously coded for another company

At my previous job I created a generic dashboard for automating tasks and it that turned out to be quite useful - and of course my previous employer owns all the code I wrote while I worked there. Now ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Would copyrights drop if I re-write open source project into another language? [duplicate]

I have re-written an open source project from java to haxe, then from haxe compiled to javascript, with totally different UI So, the question is, is the code considered to be mine after rewriting it ...
16
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Taking an open source project to closed source

How is it legally possible to take a project initially released as open source back to closed source? Especially one licensed with the GPL any version.
199
votes
20answers
42k views

Should you keep a copy of all the code you write? [closed]

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 ...
86
votes
15answers
6k views

Regulation of the software industry [closed]

Every few years someone proposes tighter regulation for the software industry. This IEEE article has been getting some attention lately on the subject. If software engineers who write programs ...
24
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
43
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
478 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? ...
5
votes
4answers
865 views

Is it legal or ethical for me to use my previous employer's code in a new project?

I participated and wrote a large amount of code in a project which my current company outsourcing to my former company last year. After that I left my former company and recently join in my current ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

use of LGPL libraries in closed source android software

I'm investigating the legal issues of using LGPL native libraries in a closed source Android software. As for now, my research on the subject shows that using LGPL libraries in closed source software ...
7
votes
1answer
214 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Simple & short license notice for proprietary code

I have written several Java utilities that I am now consolidating in a single, more organized code base. I have never distributed this code, so the only copies are currently in my possession. While I ...
35
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
28
votes
6answers
3k views

What are the Pros and Cons of the GPL? [closed]

I'm looking at licensing some open source software and am looking at the GPL. What are the pros and cons of using this license?
35
votes
6answers
32k views

Can an algorithm be patented? [closed]

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
3answers
4k 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
362 views

Is it OK to include another person's open-source module in a project that you are uploading to GitHub?

This seems like it would be an obvious "yes". However, I just want to be sure and I've tried googling around to no avail. I am learning Python/Django and uploading all of the projects I'm creating to ...
18
votes
5answers
699 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
780 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
4answers
627 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
409 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
390 views

Who is responsible for doing a patent search?

If a client requests that a particular feature is added into their website software, who is responsible for searching and recognising that a patent royalty has to paid? client web developer This ...
3
votes
2answers
175 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
919 views

Charging for Open-Source

Is it viable to charge for an open-source product? Both legally and financially, it seems like a very strange thing to do. However, I keep hearing people say that it's possible. Are there even any ...
2
votes
4answers
617 views

Is it legal to use icons from some other application while developing?

On my machine while developing I'm using icons from other application (in particular MS Paint and Paint.NET) as sign for the user that if he chooses to open that file (with our own internal command) ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Do we need a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?

We're going to meet a potential new client today and between ourselves started discussing the need for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and whether we need one at this juncture. In this case we don'...
1
vote
4answers
601 views

Can I legally use the icon of a different software? [closed]

Suppose I am including a feature in my image-viewing software, which opens an image in Photoshop ('Send to Photoshop'), using Photoshop's OLE automation framework. Am I allowed to use the icon of ...
0
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
559 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
2answers
143 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. ...