Is it legal to remove the OXID logo from the eShop front end?

Is it legal to remove the OXID logo from the eShop front end?

OXID eShop Community Edition (CE) is delivered by default with a logo in the footer of the front end as well as a copyright notice in the HTML source code. There has been a discussion in the German forum whether users of OXID eShop CE are allowed to remove the logo and even the copyright notice? Let me explain the official view of OXID eSales, the vendor of OXID eShop and copyright holder of the code:

The dilemma

The Open Source licenses and notices are in place for good reason. They give people permission to copy and modify the software, help protect users by letting them know the origin of the software, provide credit to contributors, help people understand the risks of using the software and so on.

OXID eShop CE is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GPL is not an attribution license, which means that users of OXID eShop CE must not be required to include any note or link to OXID in general as in so called „badgeware“. On the other hand, the copyright notice in the shop footer could be regarded to serve the same purpose as the copyright notice in software code, which strictly needs to stay where it is. The reason being that the GPL is based on copyright law, even if it uses it to turn it into copyleft licensing. Nevertheless, one could argue that a copyright notice as a comment in the HTML source code suffices. Hence, there is a gray line and as the issue seems to be unclear.

The Open Source community sees different practices to address this issue: Some projects and vendors feel that visible notice on the HTML is appropriate or they may feel that a source notice is more appropriate or they may have a page that specifically lists copyright and credits.

Our motivation

As an Open Source company, OXID eSales very much believes in the credit where credit’s due mantra. Additionally, we want to provide a maximum of freedome to the users of our Free Software. We also want to be good citizens and avoid to scare away our community with an unnecessary lawsuit.

All of the Open Source licenses used require that copyright and licensing notices be kept on the software. While some projects use this as a way to require a license and copyright notice to be placed on every page, we feel that this can serve to confuse users of the software.

Our official view

Today, we have added the following lines to the OXID eSales GPLv3 FAQ, which sum up our official view:

Q: Can I drop the copyright notice „© Shop software from OXID eSales“ and the banner based in /out/basic/img/oxid_powered.jpg?
A: The GPL is not an attribution license, which means that users of OXID eShop Community Edition cannot be required to include any note or link to OXID.

Q: In html source code, can I drop the entry „<!– OXID eShop Community Edition, Version 4.x.x, Shopsystem

 (c) OXID eSales AG 2003 – 2009 – www.oxid-esales.com –>“.


A: As the GPL is based on copyright law, the OXID eShop Community Edition requires keeping this entry in html source code.


We strongly believe that this solution balances the needs of each party involved (OXID, other projects and software vendors, contributors, software developers andsoftware users).

What it means

In sum:

  • Yes, you can remove the OXID logo and copyright notice from the front end footer.
  • No, you are not allowed to remove the copyright notice included as an HTML comment from the HTML source code.

 

In addition to that, we will include a CMS page with copyright, credits and licensing information called "Credits" in one of the upcoming releases. It will be part of the OXID eShop and customizable by users. It will list all licensing information, along with notices in the source code of OXID.
The copyright, credits and licensing page would list:
 

  • the open source software used in OXID
  • license and warranty information
  • information about modules, third-party libraries, etc.
  • major contributors


This page by default shall be linked to the „Information“ box in the _left.tpl template. Feel free to delete this link but please leave the „Credit“ page itself, leave it accessable by entering the appropriate URI and allow search engines to find it.

Of course, if you are with us in the credit where credit’s due boat, then we would be more than pleased if you kept the OXID logo in the front end footer and perhaps also keep the link to the Credits page to also credit the community.


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