Is it useful to have a CLA when you e.g. use an MIT license for your project? I am just asking this, because when you use the MIT license you are already granted to sublicense it, so is a CLA necessary and/or useful in this case?

Is not a CLA only useful when you use copyleft licenses such as the GPL, because the MIT license can be changed anyway?

Note that I do not want to have a list of advantages or disadvantages. I only want to know whether it makes sense in this particular case.

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    The type of license doesn't really matter, so I think this is a duplicate of What are the advantages of adding a Contributor License Agreement to a project? Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 15:10
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    No it is not. I edited the question.
    – rugk
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 15:26
  • What "particular case"? Being granted the right to sublicense it? That's the same for every FLOSS license. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 15:27
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    It still looks like a dupe after the edit. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 18:38
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    I'm somewhat reluctant to place a duplicate vote on this question. In the end, this question does ask more the 'practicality' aspect of it, especially when the license is a certain genre of license.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


This is best answered by people who distribute a software under MIT license and require their contributors to sign a CLA.

For instance, Github Inc. distributes linguist under MIT but still requires contributors to sign a CLA. They give their reasons here: https://cla.github.com/

How does a CLA protect a project?

If the owner of a contribution decides that they don’t want the contribution to be part of the project or in any given distribution, the law is on their side. The project, contributors, and users may be subject to legal action. This may require payment of damages and could prevent further usage or contributions until the matter is resolved.

Even when there is no legal pursuit, too much ambiguity can jeopardize or doom a project by preventing those that can’t risk legal action from getting involved.

  • Welcome to Open Source Stack Exchange! Excellent first answer! :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 15:16

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