So essentially, I once downloaded some script off github, forgot about it, then thought "Why not modify it!" and thus now decided to push it to my github account...

Question is though, do i keep the copyright details in the code? What do i do with it? I didn't fork it because i thought it would be weird to fork it just to add my own modification to it, and preferred to start "fresh".

I did do the following though:

  • Use the same license as the original author, which is the MIT license.
  • Give due credit at the end of the readme on the original repo.

But what else should i do? Should i just add my own name and dates in the copyright details of the script with theirs or? Any advice/feedback welcome.


I know i could do this, but i believe that only apply to forks as mentioned. I also didn't keep the "brand" name and changed the name of the project (but kept the copyright details in the modification).

I also know i could do this too but the advice mainly suggest to "put it at the beginning of the file", while the current copyright notice is put in the middle (which is the one printed on screen when listing flag options)...Does that still apply here?

Here is the repo i made for details.

1 Answer 1


I think this may be one of those cases where people get confused about copyright because they're caught up in the mechanics of github.

You have downloaded a copy of a piece of code licensed under MIT, modified it, and uploaded the resulting code to your github account. You are now maintaining a separate copy of a piece of someone else's code, which may change differently to the copy they are maintaining. This is a fork; just because it wasn't done through github's "fork" tool doesn't make it not a fork.

But fortunately, we don't need to get caught up in semantics, because the MIT license's obligations are unaffected by what you, or I, or indeed my local restaurant, calls a fork. It says that

Permission is hereby granted ... to ... modify..., distribute ... and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

So the licence text is clear. You do need to preserve their copyright notice, though you should add an appropriate one of your own. You are not obliged to distribute your work under the MIT licence, but it's good that you wish to do so, and it will mean that you're automatically including a copy of the MIT licence text, as the actual licence for your new, combined work, thus satisfying the other obligation placed on you.

  • Alright, i got that part :) But what about the "placement" of said license? Should i leave it in the middle as it is and add my own like you mentioned in the linked post i mentioned, or should i put both mine and the old one on "top" like i saw mentioned previously? Sorry if it seems I'm worrying about it even though it may seems simple... Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:08
  • @NordineLotfi are you asking about the placement of the licence text, or of the copyright notices?
    – MadHatter
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:13
  • the copyright notice (the one in the code itself) Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:16
  • 3
    The advice in the first answer you link to above is pretty good. There is no mandatory placement; you are merely required to preserve the existing notices, but the top is the normal placement for them, and if that's where you're putting yours, moving the other one up with it will be helpful to everyone.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:19
  • 2
    @NordineLotfi, you can just replace the brand/name of the project. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 7:02

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