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

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84
votes
14answers
8k 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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
7answers
694 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
839 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 ...
181
votes
23answers
29k 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 ...
29
votes
6answers
2k 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?
23
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
12
votes
11answers
1k views

Do I own copyright of program I made in own time? [closed]

I created a software package that aids electrical engineers with common calculations used on site (substations to be specific). I created the package in my own time, without being asked and without ...
8
votes
10answers
736 views

Legal proof of when a feature been implemented

For various reasons I need to supply "proof" my company's lawyer that I implemented a feature by a certain date. I have used source control since the late 90s and even the oldest databases are still ...
3
votes
2answers
481 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
6k views

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

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 ...
48
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
823 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
736 views

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

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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.
7
votes
7answers
222 views

How would you want to see software intellectual property protected?

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
273 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
656 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it okay to rollback code if your client refuses to pay you? [closed]

A friend of mine did some contracting work to add localization support to an existing mobile app. He was not contracted to add any other features or fix any already existing bugs. He has finished his ...
10
votes
6answers
838 views

What legal considerations do I need to have when programming? [closed]

Recently I worked with a group to create a logging system for tutoring labs to track Tutor hours, and usage of the labs. We had to change the design a fair amount to be in compliance with FERPA. My ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

Dangers of two Jobs? Violating Company Policy? [closed]

I'm working for a company full-time and myself part-time. I started learning the Mac OS/Cocoa/Objective-C at work, and then I got the "Brilliant Idea" that I'd like to program for the iPhone. The ...
5
votes
3answers
294 views

Ethics, Clients, and legal repercussions

I'm asking this after reading a SO question where the OP asked for help decoding obfuscated code, which looks like it belongs to a closed-source company. The OP's client is saying "I don't know the ...
3
votes
4answers
516 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
882 views

Is Tracking Software Usage Illegal? [closed]

Let's say if I am doing desktop application, and I am interested to know whether our software really gets used or not. Is it alright to insert in code that tracks whether our software is used, for how ...
10
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
702 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
308 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
935 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
286 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
255 views

So what happens with closed-source law?

Lets say Alice Co. writes a program, and Bob Co. hires a contractor to copy it, and put it on their platform? What is the general legal recourse in these cases? I say general, because most of us are ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Can I use metro style interface in my own web application?

I am wondering if I would need to license the Metro style or if I can just freely use it in my own applications. I mean, is it patented or protected in any way that would prevent me from building my ...
1
vote
4answers
527 views

Can I legally use the icon of a different software?

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
41 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
2answers
101 views

Question about the no-endorsment clause on the BSD license

I'm developing a non-free library and I want to use Bcrypt.Net in it. The clause in question: Neither the name of BCrypt.Net nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote ...