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I started playing around with Hugo (a static site generator) and came across a theme I wanted to use. At the root of the theme, there's an MIT license. My confusion comes from a file inside of the project.

(I'm not trying to subvert the license terms, just trying to understand what's going on)

https://github.com/kishaningithub/hugo-creative-portfolio-theme/blob/master/layouts/partials/attribution.html says:

| Template by <a href="https://bootstrapious.com/free-templates" class="external">Bootstrapious.com</a>
<!-- Not removing this link is part of the licence conditions of the template. Thanks for understanding :) -->
&amp; ported to Hugo by <a href="https://github.com/kishaningithub">Kishan B</a>

Three questions:

  1. Since kishaningithub gave his code an MIT License, am I obligated to include his attribution line?

    & ported to Hugo by Kishan B

  2. The original template has these license conditions

    You are completely free to use this template for your personal use or as a work for your client as long as you keep the link at the template footer pointing to us and our partner.
    NEW If you would prefer removing the backlink from the theme footer, please donate to support further themes development.
    However you cannot redistribute the template or its derivatives - neither for free or commercially (e.g. selling it on template marketplace).
    Thank you for understanding and respecting the license conditions.

Does this mean kishaningithub is in violation of the original license conditions because he did in fact "redistribute the template or its derivatives"?

  1. Am I obligated to respect the original theme's license condition of leaving in the backlink?
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    I haven't looked into it in detail, but at first reading of the research you've done so far, it sounds like the original template was not open source at all - it came with clear restrictions on its use. It's possible Kishan violated the copyright of the theme by publishing their port of it, which means you'd also be doing so by using the port. – Tim Malone Dec 5 '16 at 18:36
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This is a case of clearly confusing and conflicted licensing. Based on your research, you should contact the authors to clarify this mess.

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