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I have downloaded some software which I'm using. I'd like to include it in my project but I don't know if I'm allowed to do so due to the software not having a license.

What are my rights? If the software doesn't have a license, does that mean that I am allowed to do whatever I want with the software?

marked as duplicate by gnat, amon, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Dan Pichelman, Daenyth Dec 1 '14 at 20:58

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    Which software? Give the URL please! – Basile Starynkevitch Dec 1 '14 at 20:31
  • @BasileStarynkevitch How is that relevant? – William Edwards Dec 1 '14 at 20:32
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    It could be relevant if the software is derived from another one, or if it is small enough... And also if the software has some contact information (or simply a well known author) – Basile Starynkevitch Dec 1 '14 at 20:34
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    @gnat Yes it is. I didn't see that one before. I've flagged it as duplicate. – William Edwards Dec 1 '14 at 20:36

In the vast majority of countries, you have absolutely no rights. Copyright automatically belongs to the author by default so until they explicitly grant you rights, you don't have any.

  • What the 'vast majority of countries'? Could you elaborate on that a bit more further please? – William Edwards Dec 1 '14 at 20:28
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    @WilliamD.Edwards The Berne Convention is the corner stone of international copyright, but more recently the TRIPS Agreement is more relevant: Copyright is automatic, and computer programs are treated equal to literary works. Unless the copyright term has ended or you have an explicit license by the copyright owner, you have zero rights to the software. – amon Dec 1 '14 at 20:35

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