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Topic: Legal matters of open source licenses (Read 1435 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • Istrebitel
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Legal matters of open source licenses
Greetings.

I have a simple question about all those GPL and such licenses.

1) If i were to use a GPL/lGPL/BSD etc licensed open source product to make something i'd use just for myself, my friend and my family, am i obliged to reveal the source code to the community? Or to somebody?

2) If i were to use a GPL/lGPL/BSD etc licensed open source product as a part of a software which is a part of a paid job (for example, i'm making 100 custom tiny hardware devices which records audio, and i'd be using modified lame codec in it, and sell them to some company), what are my obligations then - am i not allowed to sell this device at all, or do i have to somehow annouce that i did it, or do i have to reveal this modified lame codec source code to the community? Or does it mean that the person who purchases those devices from me can ask me to provide him the source code of the entire software on this device? Or of the part that is the modified lame codec only? What if the contract we signed specifically states that he forefeits this right to ask for the source code?

3) If i were to do something which is prohibited by GPL/lGPL/BSD etc license, what then? Who's going to sue me? What can i be charged with? Say i've did something that violates the license and Stallman just randomly happens to come across this fact, now what?

PS: By "i" i mean imaginay "i", i'm not going to commit a crime and asking you about how'd i get away with it, i'm just wondering how this license works and since i'm not a lawyer maybe someone is here that can explain it to me and save my time reading all the legal stuff...

Thanks!
  • Last Edit: 29 June, 2011, 09:30:24 AM by Istrebitel

  • sthayashi
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Legal matters of open source licenses
Reply #1
GPL/LGPL, and BSD differ greatly.  It is worthwhile for you to read up on all of them.

1) No.
2) Read the GPL FAQ.  It largely answers these questions.  LGPL is similar to GPL for this question, IIRC.  However, BSD is entirely different.
3) The copyright owner could sue you.
  • Last Edit: 29 June, 2011, 10:15:08 AM by sthayashi

  • Istrebitel
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Legal matters of open source licenses
Reply #2
Thank you. I've read it and i still have one question:

Quote
Does the GPL allow me to develop a modified version under a nondisclosure agreement?

    Yes. For instance, you can accept a contract to develop changes and agree not to release your changes until the client says ok. This is permitted because in this case no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA.

    You can also release your changes to the client under the GPL, but agree not to release them to anyone else unless the client says ok. In this case, too, no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA, or under any additional restrictions.

    The GPL would give the client the right to redistribute your version. In this scenario, the client will probably choose not to exercise that right, but does have the right.


So please clarify it for me:

I am allowed to develop my derivative of GPL licensed code and sell it to some "client" for a fee.
I then MUST (or i can be sued by copyright owner of the original product licensed under GPL) declare to the client that he has right to receive ALL the source codes (for my modification as well) and to give this product to anybody as he sees fit.
I am not obliged to share my derivative work with anybody, its is my free will or my client free will to share or not to share this program to anybody. However, anybody who receives the program, must be notified he has rights to distribute it and to receive its source as well.
I am allowed to make a contract that does not allow me to share the developed derivative with anybody until the product is finished.
But i am not allowed to make a contract that takes away the right to distribute the finished product from me or my client.

  • sthayashi
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Legal matters of open source licenses
Reply #3
That is correct.

  • Istrebitel
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Legal matters of open source licenses
Reply #4
Thanks!