That's just an example case. What I'm trying to point out is, how can you claim something (software/website/or any 'ontouch-able' products) as yours while at the same time you are using some existing technologies behind it? (such as database engine, programming languages, compilers, or even the computer it self!).

If you can, how far can you claim it?. Can we put a notice (Copyright (c) by Me) on an website that built on top of LAMPP?. Or can I put my own copyright notice for the program I wrote on top of OpenGL?

I have the basic ideas about software licenses such as GPL, MIT, LGPL, etc. What I still don't understand is, the fact that we are all being helped all the time by existing technologies such as DBMS, compilers, IDE, and even the computer we use, now if we create something from these technologies, how far we can claim it as ours?

  • 9
    Isn't this kind of like asking "How can I claim this house as mine, if I didn't invent the hammer, the nails, the concrete...?" Feb 17, 2011 at 9:43
  • This question made me laugh!
    – Mayank
    Feb 17, 2011 at 11:05

4 Answers 4


The distinction you're looking for is between application and platform.

LAMP is your platform - this provides a base from which you to run your application on.

You can own copyright of your application, without claiming copyright of the platform.

It's like saying you can own the copyright of a photo you take, without claiming your designed the camera.

  • I was about to say more or less the same thing.
    – Zachary K
    Feb 17, 2011 at 9:34

Can you claim to be author of the book, even though you haven't invented the alphabet nor paper nor ink?


It is the nature of the license agreement that the providers of these libraries give.

They allow you to use it for your own commercial software for which you have the copyright as long as you add significant content of your own to make the product different from what they are actually providing.

MySQL with a few additional features would not be a candidate. An application that used a database in its implementation that happened to be MySQL would be.


Given the same analogy, is an iPhone app made by the app author or is it Apple's, due to the fact they provide the iPhone and Cocoa Touch/iOS?

Similarly, are games on a PS3 Sony's or the game producers?

The answer, of course is obvious.

Apple and Sony made everything on those platforms, and the content authors are quite frankly stealing from them!


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