legal question copyright law and launchpad

Asked by Andrew Fenn

What copyright law does launchpad follow? Since the servers are in Britain, as am I, does that mean I am free to follow British copyright law with regards to uploading to the servers?

I have been thinking about starting a project and code repository for bnetd (, however I would like to make sure I am not wasting my time if launchpad is going to take down the project because they're frightened to host it.

There is no violation of copyright as the code is all GPL v2 or later. The only threat would be from Blizzard attempting to take down the project even though it is not their copyright..

I guess to summarise, I am asking would launchpad bow down to pressure from an outside company to avoid the threat of an invalid lawsuit.

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Andrew Fenn (andrewfenn) said :

Additionally, while I am asking the question of copyright with regards to distribution via launchpad can I also ask about patents and launchpad as well and where Launchpad stands on that issue.

The UK has no software patents so does that mean that I may distribute and launchpad redistribute my code as to UK law with regards to patents?

Also with regards to my first question, I meant to ask in a generic way which isn't specific to bdnet. If you could answer in such a way that it would be useful for all server emulator projects it would be helpful for my legal understanding as anyone else who reads this.

I think that if you could also include situations such as if a contributor from the US is involved in contributing code to a project under the situations I mentioned above it would be even more helpful in legally clarifying what can and can not be done on launchpad.

I'm sorry to dump these complicated questions on to you, so please take your time to answer.

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ikms (ian-k-mcfarland) said :

Hi Andrew,

Firstly I would suggest taking a look at


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ikms (ian-k-mcfarland) said :

Hi Andrew,

My second suggestion is:

Generally most Illegal situations that are not emergencies would be reported to Launchpad, (<email address hidden>. ), as well as to the police.

Without spending agreat deal of time looking into the Launchpad site itself ...................

Launchpad may have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) clearly defining the privileges and guidelines for those using its services, and the actions that can be taken if those guidelines are violated. Such AUPs could cover everything from rules about advertising in a newsgroup, to junk email, to illegal acts.

Launchpad may have a "Code of Conduct" stating that it will not host illegal content and will make a reasonable effort to investigate legitimate complaints about alleged illegal content or network abuse, and will take appropriate action.

Having said all this, I dont believe Launchpad itself has the legal power to decide if material is illegal, and so would be most reluctant to remove suspect content without official direction from a law enforcement agency. Otherwise it may be potentially liable for wrongfully removing a Web site, and/or for breaching Rights and Freedoms.


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Andrew Fenn (andrewfenn) said :

The only thing I can see in the documents you linked to was the following,
"Launchpad will only delete data if required to do so by law "

This isn't helpful. I am not talking about illegal situations I am asking what law launchpad follows, US or UK and how far will launchpad go to protect its users.

This is important as it determines if launchpad will take down content requested by US companies because of an irrelevant patent infringement. There are no software patents in the UK so the author would not be in violation and launchpad is not required to take content off the website.

The same thing for copyrights, in relation to server emulators, there is no illegal situation all the code is under the GPL.

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Jonathan Lange (jml) said :


I'd suggest emailing <email address hidden> with this question. International copyright law is really complex, and people with the right amounts of legal training and domain knowledge are unlikely to read this forum.

Other people may have already suggested this, but if you are particularly worried about the legal implications
of your project, you should probably seek professional legal advice.

Finally, it really doesn't take that long to register a project and upload a branch, so although it might "wasting your time", it's probably only five minutes of it -- about as long as I spent writing this answer :)

Hope this helps,

P.S. I guess since the word "legal" has been mentioned I should say that these are my own opinions and not those of Canonical.

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Andrew Fenn (andrewfenn) said :

I've still not recieved an answer either via email or via this question.

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Joey Stanford (joey) said :

I've taken ownership of this question. We're having some interesting internal discussions about this and have almost reached a decision.

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Andrew Fenn (andrewfenn) said :

Great to hear, please take your time.

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Joey Stanford (joey) said :

Andrew, the verdict is in: We're happy to host your code.

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Andrew Fenn (andrewfenn) said :

Sorry to keep bothering about this. I've been reading the launchpad data retention policy.

"Launchpad will only delete data if required to do so by law ..."

From your positive response does this mean that "by law" should be changed to "by uk law" ?

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Best Joey Stanford (joey) said :

Hi Andrew,

It's implied that it's UK law due to it being listed elsewhere in the document and other docs we have on the legal page.


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Andrew Fenn (andrewfenn) said :

Thanks Joey Stanford, that solved my question.