In the case I want to fork a project from GitHub that has the LGPL3.0 or the GPL3.0 license, what do I have to do? The original license text might contain the "process" that is required (keep those files, change these files), but as I am not a lawyer, and English is not my first language, I do not understand what is written there.

I'd appreciate if someone could summarise what needs to be done exactly - in plain English - in the terms of the license, when I fork a GPL/LGPL project in GitHub.

  • Probably the software is just licensed under the LGPLv3, which is an extension of the GPLv3, so both license texts are included. (However, the text of the LGPLv3 allows conversion to the GPLv3, so the difference is quite minor; see opensource.stackexchange.com/q/8401/50.)
    – apsillers
    Aug 11 '21 at 20:33
  • Thank you @apsillers for your comment, but if you have some time I would appreciate if you could actually answer my question.
    – Alex
    Aug 12 '21 at 6:10

When creating a fork of a LGPL or GPL licensed project, the requirements are actually quite simple:

  • you must use the same license for your forked project.
  • you must keep all copyright notices (lines with the word Copyright, a (range of) year and one or more names) intact. You are allowed to add your own copyright notices on files you modified.
  • you must keep all references to the (L)GPL license intact.
  • if you add new files, you should add a comment block to them with copyright and licensing information. Preferably in the same style as the rest of the project uses.

And actually, only the first point is somewhat specific to the (L)GPL licenses. The other points apply to the large majority of open-source licenses.

  • "You are allowed to add your own copyright notices." - Though adding a copyright notice on a file that you have not modified in any (other) way is dubious (legally, and IMO morally). It makes it appear that you are claiming a partial copyright on something that you have not made a copyrightable contribution to.
    – Stephen C
    Sep 2 '21 at 12:00

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