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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39
votes
8answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

Can I use GPL, LGPL, MPL licensed packages with my application and make it closed source?

I saw a company is using BusyBox and also using Gpl + Lgpl + Mpl packages on it, and then they have there own application running on it. Their application is a closed source package. You buy the ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

Can you change a license once you pick one?

I am working on a product that I don't feel is completely ready but I have a set of users that are very interested in using it now as "alpha" testers. I would like to give them the product now for ...
47
votes
4answers
14k views

Is there a chart for helping me decide between open-source licenses? [closed]

The Open Source Initiative lists 9 different licenses in their list of "License that are popular and widely used or with strong communities". I want to license my project as open-source. ...
17
votes
2answers
6k views

Using GPL libraries without modification on a commercial website, do I need to make my source code available? [duplicate]

If I write a public-facing commercial website, and use a GPL javascript library and/or binaries without modifying them (such as plupload), would I be required to make the source for my website ...
56
votes
1answer
18k views

MIT vs. BSD vs. Dual License

My understanding is that: MIT-licensed projects can be used/redistributed in BSD-licensed projects. BSD-licensed projects can be used/redistributed in MIT-licensed projects. The MIT and the BSD 2-...
108
votes
14answers
15k views

Is it possible 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
10k views

Do you have to include a license notice with every source file?

I've been looking for various licenses that I can use for an open-source project of mine, but all of the projects that I've seen, with all kinds of licenses, appear to have a giant, obnoxious (in my ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

What constitutes “distributing” for LGPL v3

I am considering basing some new software on a LGPL web application. I want to utilize this new software for creating one website for my employer, and we do not intend to sell or distribute the ...
7
votes
2answers
534 views

Can I, as author and copyright holder, relicense my code under a more liberal license after it has been published under a more restrictive license?

Say, for example I published my code under GPL. A month after release, I decide evil corporations (*cough*) are allowed to use my code after all, because it's so brilliant and bug-free. Can I just ...
10
votes
7answers
5k views

Open Source but not Free Software (or vice versa) [closed]

The definition of "Free Software" from the Free Software Foundation: “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free ...
24
votes
1answer
4k views

How is client-side javascript covered by the GPL?

If I used a GPL-licensed Javascript library in a web application, would I then have to offer source code of the whole site to anyone who downloaded and executed the Javascript lib?
32
votes
6answers
2k views

Reasons NOT to open source not-for-profit code? [closed]

I am a big fan of open source code. I think I understand most of the advantages of going open source. I'm a science student researcher, and I have to work with quite a surprising amount of software ...
18
votes
9answers
5k views

Rewriting GPL code to change license

I have found a GPL library (no dual license), which does exactly what I need. Unfortunately, the GPL license on the library is incompatible with the license of a different library I use. I have ...
13
votes
1answer
541 views

License requirements for including open source software

In an open source project, a number of other open source libraries have been included to implement needed functionality, some as libraries (LGPL), and some as source code (non-LGPL). The new BSD ...
6
votes
5answers
325 views

How are software licenses applied?

I have created a small and helpful project that I'd like to upload to a public repository and share under the FreeBSD license. What are the common steps I should make to apply the license to my code? ...
71
votes
3answers
43k views

AGPL - what you can do and what you can't

AGPL is a fairly new license that was meant to go GPL-over-networks. However, not being a lawyer, and actually not having read the whole license, I can't understand what exactly you can do freely and ...
31
votes
8answers
38k views

Can we use Java for commercial use?

The Java is GPL license (reference from wikipedia). I am not sure I can use it in in commercial projects. I already have a website written in Java and I plan to use this for commercial use. Is that ...
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is renewal of MIT license needed on github at the beginning of each year?

I am using the MIT LICENSE in all of my github projects. The second line says 2013 at the top. For having the copyright to hold in future(i.e. after 2013) does it need to be changed each year or is it ...
7
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? ...
16
votes
6answers
5k views

Software License: Open Source, but no distribution (for free or for profit)

I wrote a program in PHP. I want people to be able to use the code to learn from and even include bits in their own apps but I also want to maintain the right to sell it and make it clear that others ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Paid software includes MIT licensed library, does that put my app under MIT too? [duplicate]

If I include MIT licensed source code in my program, am I obliged to provide my whole software under MIT? The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or ...
37
votes
6answers
26k views

Can a developer get a discount for Microsoft products? [closed]

If I would start to focus on the .NET platform and be self-employed, then I probably would like to have some Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2010 licenses just for the development ...
19
votes
7answers
7k views

Avoid GPL violation by moving library out of process

Assume there is a library that is licensed under GPL. I want to use it is closed source project. I do following: Create small wrapper application around that GPL library that listens to socket, ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
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.
8
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the best practice for arranging third-party library licenses “paperwork”?

I am developing a small open source project. The application uses many third-party libraries released with a range of licenses: Apache, MIT, BSD, LGPL and CDDL. Each of these licenses has its own “...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I correctly sub-license a library that is under the MIT license?

How do I correctly sub-license a library that is under the MIT license. I am using and extending the library. The MIT license states that I am free to sub-license the library. Can I simply state: &...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How are GPL-compatible licenses like MIT usable in GPL programs without being subject to the copyleft provision?

I'm currently examining the possibilities and implications of linking against a GPL library for an application in a commercial context. From what I've understood of the GPL, as long as the ...
4
votes
4answers
314 views

What happens when a project switches to a different license?

I've been reading a bit about software licenses, and I'm having trouble getting my head around the idea of what happens when one wants to change the license. I've read a couple of questions here on ...
5
votes
4answers
833 views

Is running an executable as a child process the same as linking a library?

I'm planning on running an executable as a child process in my program (e.g. using Ruby's popen or C's exec() family of functions). However, the executable I'm planning on running is licensed through ...
5
votes
2answers
578 views

can a closed source commercial software make system(3) calls to GPL applications (not libraries)?

The closed source commercial software (CSCS), will just make system(3) calls to GPL applications. The user machine will run CSCS and it will call these GPL applications, in realtime, in the very same ...
4
votes
4answers
519 views

Licensing of content created by licensed code

So I had been using trianglify, and I was thinking about using an image that it had created. Trianglify is licensed under GPLv3, however, (as I understand it,) it creates unique svg files. The author ...
3
votes
3answers
373 views

Is a project without license public domain? [duplicate]

If a project has no a license or has unknown authors, is it public domain?
46
votes
4answers
21k views

Are there pre-made commercial software licenses to choose from?

I currently have an open source project that is licensed under GPLv3. I'd like to dual license it, so I can offer it for commercial use. Are there any resources for choosing or creating a commercial ...
42
votes
3answers
49k views

Can I use MIT licence plugins in my commercial web site?

If yes, what precautions should I take?
12
votes
6answers
11k views

License key solution in web application, what is the best approach?

I am stumped by a request from my manager. I work for a small startup and we developed a web application for a fixed rate with a maintenance agreement for a MUCH larger company. Knowing horror ...
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 ...
42
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 ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

“Open-source” licenses that explicitly prohibit military applications

I am a researcher, and in my research I do a lot of programming. I am a big fan of the open-source concept - especially in research, where transparency and reproducibility is already a big part of the ...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

Is BSD license compatible with Apache?

Can I develop a BSD-licensed software that extends an Apache-licensed software (and vice-versa)?
7
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
860 views

How to properly license open source software

I have a project I've been working on which I would like to push into a new, public Github repository as open source. After searching on StackExchange for the right license to use I've settled on the ...
9
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Which open-source license is right for my project?

I am trying to choose the right license for a project that I would like to release as open-source later this year but I am unsure as to what the most appropriate license would be. I was originally ...
20
votes
3answers
27k views

Is Java free/open source or not?

On November 13, 2006, Sun released much of Java as free and open source software, (FOSS), under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). On May 8, 2007, Sun finished the process, making all ...
9
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
597 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 ...