Questions tagged [licensing]

Questions about the implementation of software licenses on software. If you intend to ask something about free or opensource software, CONSIDER NOT TO ASK HERE. Instead check if **Opensource.SE** (https://opensource.stackexchange.com) would not be more appropriate for your question than this site.

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250
votes
5answers
265k 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 ...
217
votes
2answers
206k 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 ...
197
votes
2answers
179k 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 ...
185
votes
3answers
58k 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? ...
156
votes
2answers
41k 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 ...
141
votes
3answers
160k 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 ...
133
votes
7answers
53k 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 ...
131
votes
14answers
24k 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
4answers
164k views

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

If yes, what precautions should I take?
114
votes
5answers
62k 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 ...
103
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
100
votes
2answers
25k 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 ...
99
votes
2answers
52k 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-...
81
votes
5answers
72k 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 ...
80
votes
3answers
27k 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 ...
75
votes
1answer
29k 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 “...
66
votes
3answers
39k views

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

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 ...
61
votes
8answers
18k 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 ...
60
votes
5answers
22k 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 ...
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
4answers
23k 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. ...
57
votes
1answer
22k 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 ...
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 ...
50
votes
1answer
6k 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. ...
49
votes
8answers
81k 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 ...
49
votes
3answers
12k views

Declaring multiple licences in a GitHub project

For years, I've been a great fan of putting licences on things shared online to make it easier for others to determine if and how they can reuse said things. Before GitHub began to gently 'push' its ...
48
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
46
votes
2answers
108k 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. ...
45
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 ...
45
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 ...
44
votes
3answers
74k 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 ...
40
votes
6answers
31k 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 ...
39
votes
2answers
55k views

Can I use new BSD licensed library/code in commercial closed source project?

I've found a software library I want to use in my closed source commercial project. It has new BSD license . Can I do it?
37
votes
3answers
22k views

Get license information for all used NuGet packages

To keep our house in order, I want to automatically assemble licenses for project dependencies in our documentation, rather than having to add them manually. Does anybody know a simple way to ...
37
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
35
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
35
votes
3answers
16k 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
4answers
23k views

Is BSD license compatible with Apache? [closed]

Can I develop a BSD-licensed software that extends an Apache-licensed software (and vice-versa)?
33
votes
6answers
7k 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?
33
votes
3answers
18k views

Mozilla Public License (MPL 2.0) vs Lesser GNU General Public License (LGPL 3.0)

I would like to release a software library written in a class-based, object-oriented programming language (Java) on a web-based source code hosting service, that allows forks of the project to be ...
32
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
32
votes
1answer
23k 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
11answers
4k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
27k 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?
30
votes
3answers
10k views

Which is the most permissive open-source license? [closed]

Which is the most permissive open-source license available? "Permissive" would be defined as "the minimal requirements about how the software can be redistributed".
30
votes
4answers
7k 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
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 ...
30
votes
2answers
19k views

What are the requirements for attribution in the MIT License?

choosealicense.com claims that the MIT license is “A permissive license that is short and to the point. It lets people do anything with your code with proper attribution and without warranty” (...

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