If I'm getting this whole thing right, each time I'm changing something in a published licensed project, I'm licensing it independently from any other edition of it. Each version/commit from legal perspective is an independent set of data licensed on it's own conditions. Each new version gets its own license and each previous version can be relicensed. All this assuming it's my personal work and I'm free to license it as I want.

My question is: is it possible to automatically expand license on previous/past editions of data it was applied to? If yes, which licenses are known to do it?


  1. I license a software under X and it is applied for the whole lifespan of that software. Even if I change license to Y in the future version, that future version would be dual (X & Y) licensed.
  2. I license an image under Z. All previous editions of that image are made multilicensed under Z.

1 Answer 1


No. You cannot expand a license (or change it) on a previous, already licensed version of something: once you have licensed version A of your software/data/whatever under a certain license, version A will retain its license also if you change the license in version A+1.

The typical example is an open source software that became proprietary: the last released open version remain open, irregardless of the new license.

  • But I can multilicense, that is what I mean. If you want a more specific example: I release 1.0.0 under X, then I release 2.0.0 under Y and Y says that 1.0.0 is now under both X & Y. Aug 4, 2016 at 13:57
  • No. You can do whatever you want with release 2.0.0, but the 1.0.0 release's license cannot be changed.
    – Gianluca
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:17
  • 1
    Original license is not changed. New one is added. Aug 4, 2016 at 14:24
  • Right, you add a new one. Then who downloaded the 1.0.0 before the 2.0.0 release, which license had accepted once you add the second license to 1.0.0, since now the 1.0.0 has 2 license ? This is why you cannot do such things.
    – Gianluca
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:46
  • 1
    You really don't get me, do you? I'm not even saying that 1.0.0 has different license. It has both. And I'm not asking about what license applies, I'm asking if license Y can apply itself to 1.0.0 when I'm applying it to 2.0.0. Aug 4, 2016 at 18:55

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