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I am wondering about copyright matters on projects built using an MIT-licensed project skeleton.

The symfony-standard contains a MIT license but obviously, at the end of a proprietary project, this license drops.

Of course, nobody minds. The symfony command (symfony new <project>) doesn't even create a LICENSE file.

But is it legal?

I mean:

  • giving project attribution (which is the only MIT restriction) to Fabien makes no sense when the project is built (especially for proprietary ones)

  • we may want to create GPL projects

IMO (I'm not an expert though), a project skeleton should have the most permissive license, such as Creative Commons Attribution 4.0, else that's very ambiguous. What do you think?

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But is it legal?

Nope. Why would you remove attribution? This is essentially the only thing the MIT is about:

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

You can relicense under any license you please because the MIT grant explicit rights to sublicense:

[...] 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 [...]

You can therefore license you code under the GPL and relicense this code under a GPL or proprietary license and anything. You cannot remove the MIT license or else you would NOT be licensed to do anything with this code at all.

  • BTW, think for a sec if YOU were the author: would you appreciate that you are not credited for your work (which is what the MIT is only about)? – Philippe Ombredanne Feb 6 '17 at 8:51
  • I know that, but if a skeleton is your work, as an author myself I don't want that the skeleton implementation remains your work. This is the main point of my question, it doesn't make sense. – Alain Tiemblo Feb 7 '17 at 9:17
  • I give you an example: symfony-standard is the skeleton for using the symfony framework (which is all-in-all downloading and implementing a large library that has its own MIT license). And twigfiddle.com is a project I developed using Symfony, you can find the application here with the same structure. And I keep the original LICENSE even if I developed thousands lines of code on top of it. I don't really care but this doesn't look to be the proper way to go. – Alain Tiemblo Feb 7 '17 at 9:24
  • Keeping the original license and credits does not mean that you have 1. to keep it in the same place 2. let it so that it looks like this is the top level license for everything even if this is not the case. – Philippe Ombredanne Feb 7 '17 at 20:42
  • @AlainTiemblo just to be clear is your question about the LICENSE file only? or about the license terms in general? I think you are may be making a confusion between the two. – Philippe Ombredanne Feb 7 '17 at 20:45

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