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I have an open source software project licensed under MIT.

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2016 Håvard Fossli

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any ....

I found some code on another repo also licensed under MIT and I want to use bits and pieces of that. The MIT license has a copyright notice on top with the name of that author.

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2016 John Snow

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any ....

Should my license be updated to look like this?

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2016 Håvard Fossli
Copyright (c) 2016 John Snow

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any ....

  • 2
    My understanding is that yes, you can do what your propose. What I don't know (and I think is necessary for a good answer) is if there is some downside to not identifying which portions are your work and which portions are someone else's work. – Thomas Owens Jan 22 '16 at 13:01
  • @ThomasOwens, one way to make that clear is to set up version control, and import both pieces separately. Tracking where each line comes from in the final package, that way lies madness. – vonbrand Jan 22 '16 at 13:44
  • 1
    @vonbrand You're right - if you set up your project right, this shouldn't be a hard issue to solve. I just don't know how necessary or advantageous it is. Personally, I would probably do it the way you described. – Thomas Owens Jan 22 '16 at 13:46
4

Yes, that's exactly how you should do it.

If, in the future, you happen to have written out any code by the original contributor, then you could (if you wish), remove their name - but you'd have to be sure none of their code remains of course :)

2

Listing copyright for each individual may imply that these holders hold copyright over all of the code, whereas really they should only hold copyright over the portions they have created. I would recommend instead using the lines

Portions Copyright (c) 2016-2019 Håvard Fossli
Portions Copyright (c) 2016 John Snow 

And then use a source control system to keep track of which parts were contributed by whom.

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