I have a class which inherits from one in the standard library of Python 2.7.6.

I would like to meet the conditions of the license of that code, which is the PSF LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR PYTHON 2.7.6 which (in part) says

... PSF hereby grants Licensee a ... license to ... use Python 2.7.6 alone or in any derivative version, provided, however, that PSF’s License Agreement and PSF’s notice of copyright, i.e., “Copyright © 2001-2014 Python Software Foundation; All Rights Reserved” are retained in Python 2.7.6 alone or in any derivative version prepared by Licensee

I'm wondering about the meaning of the second or in that text, which suggests that I do not need to mention that copyright claim anywhere in my own code. It is sufficient not to remove the claim from Python 2.7.6 itself.

So, if I comply with the other clauses (especially clause 3, explaining my changes), then I am fully compliant and have no obligation to distribute any part of Python (in particular the license, or copyright claim) with my own code.

Does that seem a reasonable interpretation?

2 Answers 2


The "or" there is not intended to give you wiggle room, but is intended to differentiate between original "or" modified version.

In the reading of copyright by the Free Software Foundation, creating a derivative class creates a derivative work from the original work, and thus the license should be included. This definition is not universally accepted.

I understand you feel the license feels out of place in your repo. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just stick it in there, and make it clear what it applies to.

Personally I'm a fan of a central file that tells you the copyright information, and several separate license files as needed. Take a look at Combining code written under different licenses (Eiffel Forum License, MIT and Apache), what are my options?


As far as I understand, you have to retain the notice in unmodified and modified files, and add it to any new files. The "or" refers to original or modified version of the whole.

You can use the original (as can anybody who gets it from you) only under the conditions spelled out by the license, at least by common courtesy you have to tell downstream of those conditions.

In any case, I fail to see what you'd gain by leaving the license out. Leave it in, and interpret it widely. Unless you are trying to cheat somehow, in which case you don't have my sympathy, and you'd have to ask a lawyer for the exact wiggle room available-

  • Note that the notice is not in the unmodified files - it is a separate file of itself. Not trying to cheat - my concern was that their license file looks out of place in my repository, when there's nothing else of their's there.
    – jalanb
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 15:34

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