Questions tagged [licensing]

Questions about the implementation of software licenses on software. If you intend to ask something about free or opensource software, please check if **Opensource.SE** (https://opensource.stackexchange.com) would not be more appropriate for your question than this site. See the full description for more information about which questions are on topic.

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201
votes
4answers
212k views

Can I use GPL software in a commercial application

I have 3 questions about the GPL here: If I use GPL software in my application, but don't modify or distribute it, do I have to release my application under the GPL? What if I modify some software ...
188
votes
2answers
156k 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 ...
168
votes
3answers
36k views

Meaning of MIT license

Suppose I use this ActionScript API released under MIT license to build a software: http://www.cove.org/ape/docs/api/ Can I sell that software? Do I need to give the source code of my software away? ...
147
votes
2answers
133k views

Best existing license for closed-source code [closed]

I'm creating a few closed-source applications on my own (no big company behind me) and am wondering exactly how to protect them. At the top of all the source code files I have this pretty basic ...
126
votes
3answers
131k views

What are the real life implications for an Apache 2 license? [closed]

I want to use SVG Edit for a project. This software is distributed under the Apache 2 license. I've seen that: all copies, modified or unmodified, are accompanied by a copy of the licence all ...
121
votes
14answers
21k 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 ...
120
votes
2answers
29k views

Which SPDX license is equivalent to 'All Rights Reserved'?

I've got a package.json that's expecting a SPDX-approved license acronym, but I can't find one that means 'proprietary commercial license, all rights reserved'. Is there one for non-FOSS, where I ...
111
votes
7answers
40k 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 ...
99
votes
7answers
6k views

Ship of Theseus applied to GPL - Can I relicense my program if I replace all of the derivative parts?

I translated a GPLv2 C program to Python, but found it was hard to extend as designed and rewrote significant portions of it. The program is now structurally completely different, but there are ...
98
votes
5answers
49k views

How to manage a copyright notice in an open source project?

I'm working on, and adding to, a GitHub-hosted project that includes this LICENCE.md (apparently the MIT licence verbatim): Copyright (c) 2012 [Acme Corp] Permission is hereby granted, free of ...
94
votes
4answers
128k views

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

If yes, what precautions should I take?
85
votes
2answers
42k 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-...
83
votes
1answer
17k 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 ...
81
votes
5answers
55k views

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

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 ...
68
votes
3answers
20k views

What does “GPL with classpath exception” mean in practice?

Oracle seems to license all their Java-related open source code under the GPL with a classpath exception. From what I understand, this seems to allow to combine these libraries with your own code into ...
59
votes
1answer
24k 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 “...
58
votes
3answers
9k views

If GitHub interacts with Git, and Git is licensed under GPLv2, shouldn't GitHub be open source?

Since Git is licensed under GPLv2, and, to my understanding, GitHub interacts with Git, shouldn't the whole GitHub codebase be open-sourced in a GPL-compatible license?
58
votes
8answers
15k 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 ...
57
votes
4answers
21k 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. ...
54
votes
3answers
28k views

Can you change code distributed under the MIT license, and re-distribute it under the GPL license? [on hold]

Is it possible to alter the code of the Chili plugin, which had its latest release on July 2008, and it is licensed under the MIT license, to then license it under GPL? As far I can see, there is no ...
53
votes
27answers
4k views

What is the most egregious waste of money you have seen, and what did you do about it? [closed]

Often we as programmers see large organisations wasting huge sums of money on bloated and inefficient solutions to problems. This pains me greatly because I like organisations to benefit from best of ...
48
votes
8answers
77k 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 ...
48
votes
1answer
17k 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 ...
47
votes
6answers
15k 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 ...
43
votes
2answers
100k views

Understanding Visual Studio Community Edition license

Recently Microsoft has released a free version of Visual Studio: Visual Studio Community Edition the license says IF YOU COMPLY WITH THESE LICENSE TERMS, YOU HAVE THE RIGHTS BELOW. ...
42
votes
14answers
5k views

What do I need to do to NOT steal “Hello World” code with a GPL license?

In the project, I found a file, math.c, with a big GPL header and ... //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ /// Returns the minimum value between two ...
42
votes
1answer
3k views

Altering author names in MIT license [closed]

Some years ago I wrote and released some software under the MIT license. Recently I noticed that one (or some?) of the forks have altered the leading copyright notice at the top of the license, i.e. ...
40
votes
8answers
6k views

Software License which discriminates on 'ethical' grounds

I've spent some time reading the common copyleft and permissive software licenses. Is there a license which allows the creator of an application or algorithm to broadly specify who may use/distribute ...
40
votes
6answers
13k views

Open source code with no license… can I fork it?

Years ago somebody created a bunch of really awesome and popular scripts. But they were not updated for a long, now they no-longer work (target platform were updated, and some changes are needed). He ...
38
votes
6answers
30k 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 ...
35
votes
3answers
13k views

Best Mechanism for Generating License Keys [closed]

What methods / libraries / tools would people suggest for generating license keys (those lovely AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA things you put in when you register software)? Any gotchas to look out ...
35
votes
2answers
2k views

Unicode license

The Unicode Terms of Use state that any software that uses their data files (or a modification of them) should carry the Unicode license references. It seems to me that most Unicode libraries have ...
34
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
34
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
33
votes
3answers
64k 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
19k views

Is BSD license compatible with Apache?

Can I develop a BSD-licensed software that extends an Apache-licensed software (and vice-versa)?
32
votes
3answers
26k views

Can I use Apache Software License, Version 2.0 and GNU LGPL 3 licence plugins in my commercial web application?

I have two plug-ins. One has the GNU LGPL 3 license and the other has the Apache Software License, Version 2.0. Can I use them in my commercial app? And if yes, what precautions should I take?
32
votes
1answer
19k views

LGPL 2.1 vs LGPL 3.0 Advantages and Disadvantages

From what I've read, LGPL 3.0 allows you to use the license together with other licenses, more permissive about that(Not even sure about that). From https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#...
31
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the purpose of the “non-endorsement clause” in the New BSD license?

Note: This question is not about the "obnoxious BSD advertising clause". The New BSD license does not contain that clause, and is compatible with the GPL. I'm trying to pick between the New BSD ...
30
votes
12answers
3k views

Is it wrong to take code you have produced at work and re-use it for personal projects?

Throughout my various workplaces I always wrote code which made me think "this would be really useful in other situations". Indeed, I intentionally write code, even if it takes me longer write, which ...
30
votes
6answers
5k views

What are the Pros and Cons of the GPL? [closed]

I'm looking at licensing some open source software and am looking at the GPL. What are the pros and cons of using this license?
30
votes
7answers
2k views

Choosing a licence for open source projects

I've done some open source projects, and I plan to do more in the future. So far, I've released all my code under GPL, but I've read a few articles which claim GPL is too restrictive for any code to ...
29
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
29
votes
1answer
5k 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?
28
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
8k views

Is it okay to use a short EULA?

I need to add an EULA to my (commercial) software but I cannot afford a lawyer. Also I had a look at various EULA examples on the internet but they are all for specific software or countries, and are ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

What to do when a company request permission to use open source code without attribution?

I have an opensource project currently under MIT license. I have received a request from a company to use my code for their commercial project without having to give any attribution or credit. To be ...
28
votes
6answers
2k views

Maintain a web application once the only developer is gone

I have a terminal disease and there is a very high chance that I will no longer be in this world by the end of the year. I have developed a web application that it is extensively used in my family’s ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there an idiot's guide to software licensing somewhere?

Basically, my knowledge on the issue is zilch other than the fact that open-source and closed-source exists. I'm a web developer (not a designer in the slightest), so I look online for things like ...
27
votes
5answers
4k views

Can someone else patent my open-sourced algorithm? [closed]

I've written a recursive search algorithm to find the boundaries of a voxel data structure in order to render it more efficiently. I've looked around, and either it's such a simple and obvious ...