To give more details, I've created a repository on GitHub, and I'm using the MPL-2.0 license (not only as a separate file but also with a copyright notice in each source file). Now, after some time, somebody forked my repository, did a lot of changes in the code, didn't update copyright notice in existing files and released a binary of my project under their name.

This doesn't sound right to me. What can I do legally stop the person from such abusive behaviour and prevent such occasions in the future?

  • 3
    What is the license violation that you are alleging? MPL requires source code to be released, it allows derived work to be covered by a different license. MPL requires preservation of existing copyright notices.
    – D. SM
    Jun 29, 2020 at 20:06
  • @D.SM But if they change the code, mustn't then also add their copyright notice? Otherwise, it looks like they are releasing the code with their changes but licensed under my name.
    – Shersh
    Jun 30, 2020 at 8:18
  • 3
    I don't see a provision demanding this in MPL. Some licenses require that changes are prominently marked as such, MPL does not appear to be one of them.
    – D. SM
    Jun 30, 2020 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


The MPL-2.0 license does not require that Contributors add a copyright notice or in another way mark files as changed and it also doesn't contain any explicit clauses about mis-representation.

Based on that, there seems to be no violation of the license, although you might look deeper in the copyright law of your country if it states anything about mis-representation by the appearance of attributing modifications to you. Thus there is nothing you can do about it.

In any case, the fact that this Contributor did not add a copyright notice does not mean the copyright now belongs to you. The copyright notice is just a means to make it explicit who owns the copyrights, but this Contributor owns the copyrights on their changes regardless.

As clause 3.4 quite explicitly states that copyright notices may not be altered, there is a possibility that this Contributor (mistakenly) believes they are not allowed to add their own copyright notice. In that case, a friendly note asking them to add their copyright claim should be enough to set this straight.

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