Software Licences



  • Hi All,

    Quick (stupid?) question.

    If I sell a piece of software (in this instance a scripted addon to existing software), that uses opensource applications (namely, 7Zip, ImageMagick, Freewrap and Tcl/TK), and the creators of the software change the license terms in a later version, the license that is attached to the version in my script doesn't change?

    So the versions I am using will not get me into legal trouble in the future?

    Thanks all.


  • sockdevs

    @Ben_Warre said in Software Licences:

    If I sell a piece of software (in this instance a scripted addon to existing software), that uses opensource applications (namely, 7Zip, ImageMagick, Freewrap and Tcl/TK), and the creators of the software change the license terms in a later version, the license that is attached to the version in my script doesn't change?

    I AM NOT A LAWYER, DO NOT TAKE MY WORDS AS LEGAL ADVICE!

    in general the version of license that is in place on the version of the third party open source software when you integrated it is the version of the license that will apply to you until you upgrade. however some licenses allow the licensor to alter the license retroactively.

    When in doubt about legal matters, talk to a lawyer. In this case you need to talk to a lawyer specializing in contract law and/or software licenses. there are plenty of those around and i guarantee you that the time and money spent on the consultation is WAY less than you would have to pay if you end up violating the license terms and get slapped with a lawsuit.

    I mean you might still get slapped with a lawsuit, we're a pretty litigious society these days after all, but at least it won't be one that you could have avoided by talking to an actual lawyer ahead of time.

    TL;DR version: Talk to an actual lawyer about this, it's totally worth it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Ben_Warre Well, I'm an author of some of that code stack you're talking about, and the license that you've got to the particular version that you've got can't be changed because then it would be a different version. If you've got a source distribution with a particular license, you have got a source distribution and can do anything with that source code within the license terms attached to it. For my code at least, that totally does include selling it, and a plain reading of the terms would correspond exactly to what a lawyer would tell you. You probably want to add your own secret sauce too.

    I've not done any sort of license assessment for all the component libraries that you mention, so I can't give you an overall promise or anything. But some of the things don't have tricky licenses for sure. (BSD-licensed stuff really isn't difficult to assess; as long as you're not asserting that you wrote the components themselves, you're likely OK.)



  • @dkf I never made the link between your user name and the wiki. Assuming I'm correct...

    Thanks for the responses.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Ben_Warre said in Software Licences:

    I never made the link between your user name and the wiki.

    There aren't really all that many “dkf”s in this world; I tend to self-doxx ever so easily… :laughing:


  • area_pol

    @dkf said in Software Licences:

    Well, I'm an author of some of that code stack you're talking about

    Which one?


  • sockdevs

    @Adynathos said in Software Licences:

    @dkf said in Software Licences:

    Well, I'm an author of some of that code stack you're talking about

    Which one?

    QUICK! TO THE GOOGLE! AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @dkf said in Software Licences:

    the license that you've got to the particular version that you've got can't be changed because then it would be a different version. If you've got a source distribution with a particular license, you have got a source distribution and can do anything with that source code within the license terms attached to it.

    This. IANAL, but as I understand it, there's some very clear law behind this point, known as promissory estoppel: if someone makes you a promise that gives you a reasonable, good-faith basis to believe you can do something, they can't legally "take it back" later and retroactively revoke your basis for doing so.

    One well-known example in the software industry is the open source Firebird database. It started out as a proprietary product from Borland called Interbase. After some time, Borland decided they were going to open-source Interbase, so they published the source code online under an open source license.

    Soon after, though, they changed their minds and decided they didn't want Interbase to be an open source project. But because they had already published the code, they couldn't take it back. A team of community developers began to maintain it. They couldn't use the Interbase name, so they called it "Firebird" instead, and Borland went on developing Interbase. Today, both products still exist, both still under active development.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @accalia said in Software Licences:

    @Adynathos said in Software Licences:

    @dkf said in Software Licences:

    Well, I'm an author of some of that code stack you're talking about

    Which one?

    QUICK! TO THE GOOGLE! AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

    Yeah that was actually pretty easy to google. Result number 3 or something...


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dkf said in Software Licences:

    @Ben_Warre said in Software Licences:

    I never made the link between your user name and the wiki.

    There aren't really all that many “dkf”s in this world; I tend to self-doxx ever so easily… :laughing:

    82k SO rep, not bad.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @pydsigner said in Software Licences:

    82k SO rep, not bad.

    It's a support channel, and one that's pretty well indexed by Google so easy for people to use to take advantage of other people's questions. I tried playing the rep game briefly, but couldn't really care enough.



  • @sloosecannon but @dkf has many other emails :trolleybus:


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @pydsigner I'm confused then because I managed to find a different person that fits the criteria but has 91k SO rep...



  • @Arantor I found one with 82k (rounded) rep, but that's just because I have access to data you don't.



  • A software license is like a sale agreement. When you buy a TV, the seller cannot retroactively void the sale without making another agreement with you.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @ben_lubar so I have the wrong person then, this is more information than I had before.



  • @Gąska
    Except for subclause SHPY KBH, buried deep in the EULA, which you agree gives them the right to modify the EULA in any way they want at any time they want with no notice or recourse.



  • @izzion which probably wouldn't stand in court.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @izzion said in Software Licences:

    Except for subclause SHPY KBH, buried deep in the EULA, which you agree gives them the right to modify the EULA in any way they want at any time they want with no notice or recourse.

    That's what the expensive lawyer will look for, and probably won't find here. (I know the licenses of some of the things definitely lack such things. Others… I've never looked.)

    […]

    And I've just checked a bit more. 7zip is LGPL-licensed, so talking to a lawyer is more advised. You're probably OK if your coupling is just calling via OS APIs (e.g., as a subprocess) but the extent to which that's true is definitely where you're into spend-the-fees time. Building commercial products on top of LGPL software/libraries is possible (unlike with the GPL as normally used), but needs to be done exactly right or there's extra legal risk. Is 7zip necessary? (Depends on what format you're delivering compressed data in.)



  • @dkf I'm just using 7z click to unzip. No doubt I could do it with freewrap anyway if I looked. Or even windows, since it's not cross platform anyway.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Ben_Warre There's lots of alternatives for straight unzipping; the ZIP format is supported by everyone and their dog. Some of the fancier formats supported by 7zip are more of an ass to deal with.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @ben_lubar said in Software Licences:

    @Arantor I found one with 82k (rounded) rep, but that's just because I have access to data you don't.

    It wasn't hard for me to find him, unless Google is a resource that @Arantor doesn't have. I just went off what @Ben_Warre said and the limited list of software projects we're talking here. 4th search result if I remember right.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @pydsigner That's what I did. I just managed to find a different person as well that still fitted the criteria.



  • @pydsigner @Arantor I'm an admin, so I can read the :fa_eye_slash: email address.



  • @Arantor the one I found has 81k rep on so. I'm more impressed by @dkf citations on google scholar, I don't really have a frame of reference for that, but sounded like a lot.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @groo said in Software Licences:

    I'm more impressed by @dkf citations on google scholar, I don't really have a frame of reference for that,

    I've worked with some very active academics and in fields where it is the norm to put the entire group's names on all publications. I don't write very many papers myself; they take a shit-load of work and I don't want to be mistaken for @boomzilla. ;)



  • @dkf said in Software Licences:

    There's lots of alternatives for straight unzipping; the ZIP format is supported by everyone and their dog.

    This, if you can just get away with regular zip pretty much every decent language / framework has a library for dealing with them.



  • @groo said in Software Licences:

    I don't really have a frame of reference for that, but sounded like a lot.

    Search for authors that use the label "software engineering".



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