10

I forked a project with an MIT license on GitHub:

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Some Name

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.

Now I'd like to do some changes and publish the project as a bower package (different name than it is published at the moment). Do I have to/am I allowed to change the Copyright in the licence?

One the one hand it's not the original author who is responsible for the published code, on the other hand it's the original author who did most of the work and deserves the credits.

10

No, you are not allowed to change the copyright notice. Indeed, the license text states pretty clearly:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all
copies or substantial portions of the Software.

But you are allowed to add a copyright notice.

If you want to keep the MIT license, which is what I would advise you to do, you only need to add a single line to the license file, before or after Copyright (c) 2012 Some Name with your own copyright notice. The final LICENSE file will look like this:

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Some Name
Copyright (c) 2016 Your Name

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.

See also the answers to this question which is pretty similar.

  • 1
    Following on (if appropriate.. the linked question was also useful): What if Copyright...Name is in every source file? I want to build off of some demo code..Is it valid to remove the copyright and add it to a separate LICENSE file? Here's an example. I've no intention of claiming this work as my own, but it seems disingenuous to leave their header on my (perhaps poorly) customized example of their tutorial. – michael Dec 3 '17 at 5:57
  • 1
    No, if they chose to put their copyright in the header of every source file, you should keep it there as well. For files you don't modify, don't add your copyright. For files you modify add your copyright (plus possibly a notice that this file has undergone significant changes by you; in the case of Apache license, this notice is especially important), for files you created only put your own copyright. – Zimm i48 Dec 3 '17 at 11:10

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