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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8
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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
230 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
2answers
519 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
296 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
votes
4answers
500 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
752 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How to include licenses for third-party Maven dependencies?

I'm producing a binary distributable for my Java project. I'm releasing it in two ways: Maven Central Zipped distributable on Google code My project is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. I use ...
8
votes
1answer
180 views

Are Microsoft fonts like Impact safe to use in Open Source projects?

I made an open source project that requires the use of the Impact.ttf font from Microsoft. I looked around but couldn't find a definite license option for MIT projects. Do Microsoft's fonts (like ...
7
votes
5answers
4k 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
3answers
3k views

Which is the most permissive open-source license? [closed]

Which is the most permissive open-source license available? "Permissive" would be defined as "the minimal requirements about how the software can be redistributed".
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
505 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
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
6k 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
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
6answers
721 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
votes
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
3k 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
votes
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
2answers
1k 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
2answers
7k views

Can I use MongoDB for a commercial web based service?

Can I use MongoDB as the database for providing a paid service? MongoDB is licensed under the AGPL, but the drivers I'm using are MIT licensed. Do I have to buy a commercial license for MongoDB or ...
7
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
559 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
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
1answer
527 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
450 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
712 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
466 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
151 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
969 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
448 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
998 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
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
788 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
218 views

Can I use the test suite from an open source project to verify that my own 'compatible library' is compatible?

The question 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? makes me wonder what would be considered a clean-room ...
6
votes
3answers
358 views

Consequences of not using an open source license?

Lets say you don't use a license for your open source project. And you don't put anything about a license anywhere in the code..is this okay to do?
6
votes
3answers
415 views

What is the difference between releasing code under the BSD license and releasing it as public domain?

You are free to use BSD licensed code for anything, even commercial, closed source software. How is that any different than just releasing it as public domain?
6
votes
2answers
216 views

Licensing code under GPL: are revisions prior to adding GPL license still GPLed?

Suppose I have an already existing codebase which does not have any license headers in any of the source files, nor does it have COPYING file. So when I add all the neccessary GPL "cruft" to, say, ...
6
votes
6answers
360 views

Why should we be aware of licenses?

I know this is common question, but why should a programmer be aware of software licenses as well as extensions and plugins licenses? I'm working in a company which focuses on the business process ...
6
votes
3answers
222 views

Can I use GPL code as textual data in my app?

In essence, I'm wondering how licenses affect the legality of using source code as data. By that I mean literally storing code in a database as strings and using it e.g. for some syntax highlighting ...