Is there a license that is basically an MIT license (public domain plus attribution) but in addition also requires someone who releases a derivative work publicly to inform the copyright holder of the release and granting the copyright holder the right to add a mention of the derivative work in a public list of derivative works?

  • A requirement to notify anyone would be way out of open source. It fails the desert island test. Aug 15, 2020 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


The requirement to inform the copyright holder of new releases of forks is a requirement that disqualifies a license from being open-source.

Such a license fails the Desert Island Test, which effectively ensures that people who are not able to communicate back also get the freedoms of the license.

The right to mention a derived work in a public list is not something that can be controlled effectively in a copyright license. Copyright does not forbid you to compile such a list, so a statement around that topic in a copyright license has no meaning.

What you can do is to add a section to your documentation with the .list of derived works and ask your users to send you updates for that list when new derivative works are created and/or when new releases are published. You just can't make it a requirement.

  • How would it disqualify it from being open-source? Open source is not the same as free software (free as in freedom). Aug 15, 2020 at 13:04
  • Or is your point that i can‘t ask questions for code with open source on on opensource.stackexchange if the license requires some form of royalty (in this case, i forming the copyright holder)? If so, which stackexchange would be apropriate for this question? Aug 15, 2020 at 13:11
  • @user1282931, open-source is indeed freedom, but that freedom has to extend to everybody and not just the group of people that would be able to get a message to you. The "contact me" part is what makes the license not an open-source license. If you really want to have a license with that requirement, you will have to ask a lawyer to draft you a custom license. Aug 15, 2020 at 13:22
  • @user1282931 on this site, we use the OSI's definition of open source, which would bar software that fails the Desert Island Test just as the FSF's four freedoms do.
    – MadHatter
    Aug 15, 2020 at 13:52
  • 1
    @user1282931 and yet OSI, which is what is being invoked here, stands for Open Source Initiative, and their definition of "open source" is widely used in practice, such as by various Linux distributions when deciding what can be included in their repositories.
    – LjL
    Aug 15, 2020 at 15:40

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