Let's have one guy who have been working on game and published it as GPL open source project.

After some time, community forks popped out, while original author got increasingly tired of his project and eventually doesn't work on it anymore.

After a lot more time, several forks have overshadowed original game by being more polished and whatsoever.

Does GPL allows the transfer of original project's ownership to most popular fork so original author could finally rest and let derivative to be main project for community?

1 Answer 1


With the GPL, there is no need for any "transfer of ownership" in a legal sense. Anybody can pick up the code and make any changes they like to it, so long as they make those changes available in accordance with the license - and this is what the forks in your example have already done.

There may be a community which has formed around the original codebase, but communities will find their own path, independent of any legal ownership. The original owner is perfectly at liberty to say "this codebase is discontinued, go see Fork X for a better version", but that's nothing to do with anything legal.

The only thing the original owner might want to do is to transfer the copyright on their (and only their) contributions to the original codebase to another entity. This would give the other entity the right to relicense the code in future (to a non-GPL license) should this be desired.

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