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If I make some typographical changes to the default MIT license, does it still count as the MIT license?

Example

Copyright (c)© [year], [organisation]

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, 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.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

I changed (c) to ©, and added a comma after the year. I know it still counts as a license, but is it the MIT license or my own license?

  • Why did you remove that tag? – curiousdannii Oct 15 '15 at 1:50
  • @curiousdannii I don't think that it's relevant. I was asking about a license, not specifically about a license file. – Toothbrush Oct 15 '15 at 11:54
  • I think the license-file tag should be used for questions like these, which are about the formatting of the text of a license, not the terms of the license. The license-notice tag would be more for notices of the license, such as at the top of source files or in documentation etc. – curiousdannii Oct 15 '15 at 11:57
  • @curiousdannii license-notice "For questions about the content and placement of license, copyright, and disclaimers" – Toothbrush Oct 15 '15 at 12:08
  • @curiousdannii As it happens, my question was about the copyright line. – Toothbrush Oct 15 '15 at 12:09
14

The copyright line isn't actually part of the license, it's a separate entity. So changing that doesn't change the license. In fact "©" is the correct form, so that change at least counts as an improvement in my book.

Beyond that though I'd stick to the canonical form of the license if there is one. The MIT license itself has many slight variants, so the FSF encourages people to reference the Expat license instead. (The existence of variations of the MIT license as used by the MIT provides an answer to your question of course...)

  • So adding a comma after the year technically does not change the license text, as it is the copyright line. Correct? – Toothbrush Aug 19 '15 at 18:48
  • 1
    That's correct, yes! – Stephen Kitt Aug 19 '15 at 18:48
  • And if you did change more, not only would it not be the "MIT license" (so you couldn't call it as such), but you might unknowingly introduce a legal ambiguity, which you definitely don't want! – Tim Malone Apr 28 '16 at 9:20
  • Related note: The SPDX added something to the MIT license ("(including the next paragraph)"), and if you use it e.g. on GitHub it will not be recognized by the automated system as being the MIT License. – Daniel Oct 8 at 9:34

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