So I googled a bit and found that a copyright notice isn't actually required anymore which I prefer as I'd rather provide a text like this:

Project is open-source and made by the following contributors: *github list of contributors link*

But now when I read up on the Apache License 2.0 it says that anyone that would like to use my code would have to list my copyright notice... except I don't have one. How would that work? Do I have to provide a copyright notice for others to use?

  • 5
    Could you explain why you don't want a copyright notice? I suspect this is an X-Y problem. Oct 31, 2021 at 11:32
  • Thank you, this was definitely a case of a X-Y problem! The problem was more that I wanted to credit all contributors instead of just myself but after a bit of googling I did find this solution: opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/4960/… I accepted the other answer since that did answer the question I actually asked here. Thank you both!
    – blueYOSHI
    Nov 1, 2021 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


US law no longer requires a copyright notice since March 1, 1989.

However note that while copyright notice are not required in US law, they are still recognised by US law, and it is beneficial to add them. If someone removes the optional copyright notice, they are committing an additional federal crime of concealing the infringement.

Good Open source licenses are written to be enforceable in jurisdictions worldwide, and written so they trigger many parts of the law to offer maximum protection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_notice#Reasons_to_include_an_optional_copyright_notice for more details.

Many licenses allow the implementer to include a custom bit of text. Sometimes it is called the advertising notice, or attribution notice. For Apache 2.0, special consideration is given to a file called "NOTICE", which is where you would put the following text to ensure that it can not be removed.

Project is open-source and made by the following contributors: *github list of contributors link*

Finally, while not mandatory, it is Apache-2.0 best-practise to add a short "header" to every source file in the project so there can be no doubt the Apache license applies to that file. See https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0#apply

  • Which clause in Apache2 do you think obligates the licensor to include his/her own copyright notice? I can't see one.
    – MadHatter
    Nov 2, 2021 at 8:51
  • @MadHatter "You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a copy of this License; and" . Note that "copyright notice" as defined by US law, is the LICENSE file in Apache 2.0, which is not the same as "NOTICE" file in Apache 2.0.
    – jayvdb
    Nov 2, 2021 at 11:53
  • I assume you refer specifically to s4d. That says you must give recipients a copy of any pre-existing NOTICE file, not that you must update it to include your copyright notice. It even says, immediately after, "You may add Your own copyright statement..", to make it extra-clear that you're not obligated to do so. If that's the bit you're relying on I'm afraid I'm not persuaded.
    – MadHatter
    Nov 2, 2021 at 11:56
  • No, I am referring to Section 4a. The LICENSE file itself is a form of copyright notice, although not the recommended one, which is to also add "Copyright [yyyy] [name of copyright owner]" as indicated at apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 .
    – jayvdb
    Nov 2, 2021 at 12:08
  • S4a refers to giving people a copy of the licence, which contains no copyright notices at all. I find it difficult to infer into s4a any kind of requirement to add copyright notices.
    – MadHatter
    Nov 2, 2021 at 12:15

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