Questions about the implementation of software licenses on software, including questions about open-source licenses. See the full description for more information about which questions are on topic.

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3answers
449 views

Why contribute to non-free open source projects?

As a owner of an open source project you'd want people to contribute and make it better, right? But if you then decide to throw on a nice tasty licencing model for people to use the software ...
8
votes
7answers
520 views

Is there an open source license for this?

I have written code at home, on my own time and using my own knowledge and equipment, while under no contract or NDA. I want to make this code open source so that I can use it in software I write for ...
8
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5answers
1k views

What are the consequences of GPL dependencies?

I am developing software for my company and I would like to use some libraries under GPL license. What could be the consequences? Does it mean that the code developed above these GPL dependencies ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

How does the GPL static vs. dynamic linking rule apply to interpreted languages?

In my understanding, the GPL prohibits static linking from non-GPL code to GPL code, but permits dynamic linking from non-GPL code to GPL code. So which is it when the code in question is not linked ...
8
votes
2answers
398 views

Does a BSD-licensed project need a signed statement from each contributor?

Today I read on Fossil SCM's mailing list: The problem with BSD is that you really should get a signed form from each contributor stating that their contribution is BSD. This is automatic with ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I use a GPL licensed piece of JavaScript on a commercial website?

I'm looking at plupload for some upload features on a website I'm developing. Now plupload is GNU GPLv2 licensed and that implies that all derivative software should also be GPL licensed (right?). ...
8
votes
1answer
231 views

What if I forgot to include someone elses copyright info in old commit?

Assume I have a public source code repository. Am I violating copyright laws if there's any old commit where I have not yet added all copyright info for other people's open source code? Details: ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the fundamental difference between the MIT and the Boost Open Source licenses?

What's the fundamental difference between the MIT open source licence : Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation ...
8
votes
2answers
532 views

Do I need to paste open source license information at the top of my webpage?

I'm developing a JavaScript application that uses several open source JavaScript projects. All their licenses have a phrase like "You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Microsoft Public License vs MIT?

I'm working with a new plugin (flexbox), and I ran into the MS-PL license, which I had not run into before. In the past, I've used mainly MIT and Apache licensed projects, so I have no idea what the ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the legal considerations when forking a BSD-licensed project?

I'm interested in forking a project released under a two-clause BSD license: Copyright (c) 2010 {copyright holder} All rights reserved. Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, ...
8
votes
1answer
297 views

Are there good places to link people to for software licenses “in plain english” similar to how Creative Commons does?

If you click the cc-wiki link at the bottom of this site, you get a nice plain-english description of what you are and are not allowed to do. The legal stuff is there too, but as someone looking to ...
8
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4answers
501 views

If I post my source code on a public site, does that automatically make it open source or do I still preserve my rights?

This is a weird question but here is why: If I write some JavaScript application, or Perl/Python/PHP cli script, anyone can see the source code. I can even host my code on a public hosting site, like ...
8
votes
1answer
140 views

Is there a graph with FOSS licenses detailing what can be linked with what?

I'm looking for a chart like this: Basically something that tells you whether an app with a given license can be linked with a library of a given license. Does such a thing exist?
8
votes
1answer
769 views

Open Source license compatibility checker

Is there a tool available for checking if various combinations of open source licenses are compatible with each other? I'm planning on building various tools that use an Apache license for ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Software license restricting commercial usage like CC BY-NC-SA

I want to distribute my software under license like Creative Commons Attribution - Non commercial - Share Alike license, i.e. Redistribution of source code and binaries is freely. Modified version ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

How can I create my own software license? [closed]

I have seen numerous licenses for any kind of software such as the GNU GPL, BSD License, MIT License, and LGPL. What is the process for creating a new software license, such as "John Doe's generic ...
7
votes
7answers
353 views

Which software licenses should I be aware of? [closed]

Licensing is something that I really haven't paid any attention to; I guess I felt there was no need. However I can't but help thinking that I should. So which are the most common licenses that I, as ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Use my own GPL licensed code in a commercial product

I am developing a software project in Java/Swing licensed under GPL v3. Later, I want to create a Android application which uses the algorithms of the Java/Swing application. This Android app will be ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Am I allowed to create closed-source software with open-source code?

I was using a popular music package (Ableton Live) when I opened the legal section of the helpfile and saw that the program contained code licenses that appeared to be both free as in freedom and free ...
7
votes
4answers
507 views

Is there a difference between “self-plagiarizing” in programming vs doing so as a writer? [closed]

I read this Gawker article about how a writer reused some of his older material for new assignments for different magazines. Is there any similar ethical (societal?) dilemma when doing the same ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Including a GPL-license library in a commercial Java program [duplicate]

I am in the process of helping develop a commercial Java program. We want to use a certain third-party LookAndFeel in the GUI. The problem is that the LookAndFeel library is GPL licensed. Since we are ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
7k views

Using C++/Java to develop software and sell it

I know this question has been asked here before, and I also know that this website is for programming questions only, but please do make an exception, as none of the posts I've come across on this ...
7
votes
6answers
734 views

Using an open source non-free license

Are there any projects/products out there that use an open source license that basically says "free for small companies" and "cost money for larger companies" in addition to "make modifications ...
7
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3answers
329 views

Submitting software to a competition, it becomes their property?

So I'm about to submit a game to a competition, but as I looked through the rules a chunk grabbed my attention: All Entries become the sole and exclusive property of Sponsor and will not be ...
7
votes
6answers
4k views

I made an HTML5/Javascript game. Do I have to license it?

So I created an HTML5/Javascript online game. I host it on my website for anyone to play for free. I am still currently working on it. Do I need to license my game? And if so, what license do you ...
7
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5answers
1k views

Downgrading from GPL v3 to GPL v2

I have this issue with licensing. I downloaded a third-party class from GitHub and it's under the GPL v3 license. However, I used this class on another open-source project which is under the GPL v2 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I use this GPL'd PGP library internally in my company?

This PGP library was bought up by Network Associates and then eventually Symantec Corporation. The source code is available and is licensed under the GPL (it was linked to from here). They have a ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Rewrote GNU GPL v2 code in another language: can I change a license?

I rewrote some parts of Mercurial (which is licensed under GNU GPL v2) in C#. Naturally, I looked a lot into original Python code and some parts are direct translations from Python to C#. Is is ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What copyright date for an update to an open-source project from last year?

In 2011, I released some open-source code that was licensed using the Apache license. As such, all the source files have this boiler plate message at the top: /* Copyright 2011 My Name ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

the decisive difference between LGPL and AGPL

What is the decisive difference between LGPL(v3) and AGPL(v3) ? Both can be used in commercial production, both can also be packed within a payed product. As long as I do not change the source code ...
7
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2answers
3k views

Running software as a service using unmodified GPL(v2+) program as a core dependency: must the SaaS source code be released?

I'm designing a software as a service project which will only be accessed online. I may have a hard dependency on an executable which is covered by GNU GPL (v2 or later). I understand that my code, ...
7
votes
1answer
566 views

Can a programmer renounce ownership of source code? [closed]

I came across this license: /** * The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of * a legal notice, here is a blessing: * * May you do good and not evil. * May you find ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

Can I use new BSD licensed library/code in commercial closed source project?

I've found freetype-gl library I want to use. It has new BSD license and I'd like to use it in my closed source commercial project. Can I do it?
7
votes
1answer
102 views

How does one request / handle personal or financial information?

I would like to create a budget app for Android. Obviously, to be competitive, I would need to allow users to get data from their bank. For [huge] security reasons, this stuff is not just freely given ...
7
votes
2answers
166 views

License terms when porting free software to another language

I'm exploring in the idea of porting an existing software package to another language. It's released under the Apache License 2.0, and is distributed for free; but there's a big different between ...
7
votes
1answer
537 views

How do I dual license?

I'd like to open source a project of mine under GPL v3. Additionally, I'd like to sell a license for those who wish to use the code in a proprietary application. How do I go about releasing my ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

For open-source licenses with an acknowledgement clause, how obvious does the notice need to be?

In licenses such as that of libjpeg and freetype, there are clauses like the following: (2) If only executable code is distributed, then the accompanying documentation must state that "this ...
7
votes
2answers
457 views

Writing proprietary and possibly closed source software while avoiding license infractions

I am starting a software project that I want to have the option to keep it proprietary. However, since I generally use a Linux environment, I want to know: How do people write proprietary software in ...
7
votes
4answers
733 views

How should I implement my chosen software license?

I have always kind of wondered, but never took my time to actually ask these questions regarding licensing. Most of these questions are presumably pretty basic, but I have no idea what I'm dealing ...
7
votes
1answer
478 views

What's the best way to acknowledge many FOSS sources in a single project?

I have a project which uses a large number of LGPL, Artistic and other open-source licensed libraries. What's the canonical (i.e. the "standard") way of acknowledging multiple sources in a single ...
7
votes
1answer
152 views

Copyright/Licensing on a complete rewrite

There was an application for PalmPilots that I liked back when PalmPilots were a thing. I want to recreate it (or at least what I remember of it) for modern mobile devices. The problem is, after ...
6
votes
4answers
977 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
449 views

What's the rationale of not simply disclosing the license fees for a commercial libary or tool?

Some companies selling software or libraries simply put their licensing model on their web page and be done with it. (Many also contain a disclaimer that there are volume discounts and special ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it allowed to embed an LGPL command-line tool?

I want to sell a closed-application that depends upon a certain command line tool. Am I allowed to distribute my software including this command line tool? For example, as a separate binary ...
6
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7answers
1k views

How to use Open Source Licenses and what do you recommend to me

I have a code that I'd like to share, but I'd like to publish it using an open source license. But I don't know how you have to use that licenses. How do you have to activate an open source license? ...
6
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5answers
305 views

“Enterprise” version of GPL'd code?

I know that there are a number of discussions about the GPL on this site but I just ran in to an interesting case of apparent misuse that I (surprisingly) haven’t seen discussed anywhere. The ...
6
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5answers
2k views

Can I sell forked GPL code?

I know that it is possible to sell GPL code, but I wanted to know if it was possible to sell GPL code that has been forked and modified. The forked and modified code will still be available to use, ...
6
votes
3answers
810 views

Is it OK to use sample code from blogs, GitHub, etc… in commercial applications?

When searching the web for a solution to a particular problem, I often find a perfect solution posted on someone's blog, or in a public repository (GitHub, Google Code). Most of the time, the code has ...