I am having trouble working out some license issues with a Sass project I'm working on.

I've created an HTML documentation template, and the CSS part is build with Sass. I'm using third party Sass modules/libs, all of which are MIT licensed except for one, which is GPLv2. Each modules is kept in a folder of its own, inside the "/vendors/" folder, along with its original LICENSE/COPYING file.

If I've understood correctly the GPLv2 license terms, the presence of the GPLv2 module makes the whole project fall under the same GPLv2 license.

My questions and doubts on the issue are the following:

  1. Is it ok if I license all the project files which I coded as MIT (so others can reuse them under MIT terms) even if the whole project will be licensed under GPLv2, and even if these files use some functions imported from the GPLv2 module?

    What I'm confused about here is where the "derivate work" line is drawn — ie: if the mere presence/use of functions defined in the GPLv2 module implies that the file becomes a GPLv2 module derivative.

  2. Does the final compiled CSS stylesheet need to fall under GPLv2 too? ie: is it to be considered a derivative work of all the Sass modules used to create it? Or am I free to license it as I wish when I distribute it without the Sass code that produced it? NOTE: the final CSS will not contain any parts of the GPLv2 module because this module only manages colors-maps and functions, so its output in the final CSS will just be hex color values defined by me

  3. The theme project also contains a /fonts/ subfolder with some SIL licensed fonts (again: each font in a folder of its own, along with license files). Does this pose a problem? Or is it enough to duly mention them in my copyright notice?

Basically, I wish to keep as much code as possible under the MIT license terms even though the final Sass project will have to be GPLv2 licensed --- I'd like people to be free to reuse as many parts of it as possible under MIT terms.

  • Which language is this coded in? and if there GPL on the JS frontend or only on the backend? Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 11:40
  • Here I am worrying only about the Sass and the final CSS. This is an alpha preview of the Sass project: github.com/tajmone/pb-archives-test/tree/source/_assets/theme/… In the end I've licensed the Sass tree as a GPL, and the final CSS as MIT. The compiled CSS only contains parts of the MIT licensed Sass modules (eg: Normalize.scss); the GPL modules offer functions and helpers to manipulate my input data, but their source code is not to be found the in final CSS stylesheet. I did my best to document all of this in the various README files. Hopefully I've done it right. Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 22:26
  • There is only GPL licensed code in the Sass project's vendors modules. The frontend (HTML, Javascript, etc) only uses MIT or public domain code. Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


There is only GPL licensed code in the Sass project's vendors modules. The frontend (HTML, Javascript, etc) only uses MIT or public domain code.

Therefore, assuming that the GPL v2 code is back end only and not redistributed, you can use all the GPL 2 you want without having redistribution obligations for that. The front-end code would require attribution where needed.

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