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I am writing a commercial application that will make use of some open libraries licensed under different licenses.

For example one library will be licensed under the Apache 2.0 license, another will use the LGPL license. Both licenses allow usage in commercial applications, but differ in the way the attributions of licensed work is given.

It is my first commercial application that uses 3rd party libraries and I want to do the right thing so that the 3rd party licenses are satisfied. I am not only asking what I should do, but also what I must not do.

What is the best way to go about displaying these licenses?

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    Since you're building a commercial application, I'd strongly advice you seek legal advice from a lawyer and not stranger on the internet.
    – yannis
    Nov 17, 2011 at 9:41
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    @YannisRizos, Should I use a software-specialized lawyer, or an ordnary one will do? I am really new to this kind of thing and I don't have much information on this topic right now. Nov 17, 2011 at 9:45
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    Why was my question dowvoted? Correct me if I'm wrong, I don't seem to have violated the written or unwritten principles of this site. Also, I believe licensing is a topic one should be encouraged to get informed on. Nov 17, 2011 at 10:03
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    Please note that all my comments are my opinion only, and the question hasn't been closed. You could edit your question to add all the extra info you have in your comments about the project to help get better answers.
    – yannis
    Nov 17, 2011 at 11:13
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    If I understood the question correctly, you want to know how best to refer to the licenses of the components in your project: if so, I think that's on this side of the types of licensing questions we allow here.
    – user8
    Nov 17, 2011 at 11:54

1 Answer 1

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In case of Apache 2.0 as well as LGPL (if the code is only linking to your code without modification), you can distribute your product (for a charge) without having to open up your code of that product.

In this case, you have to make a list of libraries are included, and for each, the actual license files that your dependent libraries have provided in their source/object code. Credits to these libraries must be given.

As LGPL license puts it,

a) Give prominent notice with each copy of the object code that the Library is used in it and that the Library and its use are covered by this License.

b) Accompany the object code with a copy of the GNU GPL and this (the LGPL) license document.

As Apache 2.0 puts it,

any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works;

Also some of the other things you cannot use, is to use the Trademark, Logo of those libraries in part of your product. for example you should not:

use phrasing such as 'based on Apache', 'powered by Apache', or 'based on Apache technology'

Further, if there is a warranty issue i.e. if the system doesn't function as intended because of software issue, the said libraries (under Apache) do not come with WARRANTY. Hence, you need to fix problems for the clients without pointing them to copy write owners of those libraries.

Refer to this: http://www.inteist.com/2010/05/how-to-use-apache-2-0-in-commercial-products-explained-in-simple-terms/

and

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/439136.html

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  • Thank you for the explanatory answer. It was important pointing out that I cannot apply the warranty of the items i.e. I must cover the problems these 3rd parties may cause. Nov 17, 2011 at 12:00

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