My software depends on and links to a third-party open-source library licensed under the MIT license. No copyright notice is present in the LICENSE file, the README file, or any of the source files. However, my understanding is that all contributors to such projects are copyright holders, and that the MIT license requires reproduction of its copyright notice even if it's implicit.

How might I provide attribution to such a third-party library? Would it be sufficient to have a copyright notice like "Copyright (c) the CoolLibrary contributors" or would I need to list out every contributor individually even when there are dozens (or more) of them?

1 Answer 1


As noted in the question you linked to, the MIT license requires that you preserve the existing copyright notices. It does not require that you add/invent any missing copyright notices.

If you are just linking to the library and you are reproducing the licensing information for the documentation of your binary-only distribution, then you can just write something like

This software uses CoolLibrary, which is under the MIT license.

<MIT license text>

without adding copyright notices.

If you copy code under the MIT license, which doesn't have any copyright notices, into your project, then it might be a good idea to add a copyright line like Copyright (c) the CoolLibrary authors to make it abundantly clear that the copyright line that follows with your name on it doesn't claim the copyrights for the whole file.

  • Thank you for the detailed answer. If I were to add the missing copyright notice to the documentation of my binary-only distribution, would it be okay to use Copyright (c) the CoolLibrary authors there too? Or would it be better if I didn't try to add/invent the missing notice? Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 15:13
  • 1
    @toomuchfanservice, it would be better not to invent the missing notice, as there is no chance that another copyright notice gives the wrong impression. Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 15:24

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