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I realize this may be an extremely basic question, but I'm confused about the legal issues that come with starting a blog and using a theme. I want to use the Clean Blog theme (by BlackrockDigital). This has an MIT license in the repository and a copyright logo on the bottom of the live demo.

If I use this theme, do I have to keep his license or make my own? Can I put my own copyright logo on the bottom, because technically my content is original although the theme isn't? (It's a blog, after all.) Or am I supposed to use their copyright? Lastly, I know an MIT license means that this should be "free of charge" -- does that include ads on a page?

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If I use this theme, do I have to keep his license or make my own?

You would have to keep his license -- the MIT license -- for the theme you are using, but that doesn't apply to your content (unless you want to use the MIT license for your content).

Can I put my own copyright logo on the bottom, because technically my content is original although the theme isn't?

Yes. You own the copyright to your content; you just have to include the license to show correct attribution for the theme you are using.

Lastly, I know an MIT license means that this should be "free of charge" -- does that include ads on a page?

The MIT license allows for usage of the licensed software free of charge; that does not mean you can't display ads. It only means you can are licensed to use that theme without having to pay for the right to use it.

  • So, would I keep his license and make my own MIT license within the same repository? Also, I had this in the law exchange at first and they suggested I move it to this group, I really have no idea where this question would best go. – user7413060 Dec 17 '17 at 3:12
  • It seems a lot of MIT license-related questions get moved here from the law site. If you decide to use the MIT license for your content, I'd suggest one license file for the theme that you're using, and one license file for your content. It would be tricky to use the same license file, since you would be claiming ownership of your content while at the same time attributing ownership of the theme to its creator. – freginold Dec 17 '17 at 3:17
  • So, just have 2 separate files? – user7413060 Dec 17 '17 at 3:18
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    That would be my recommendation. For more clarity, you could keep any source files for the theme (along with its license file) in a separate subfolder. – freginold Dec 17 '17 at 3:24
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    It seems like this process should be standardized. This seems to be a common question for people who care about providing proper attribution. How to deal with derivative works is not obvious, and if you search you'll get many conflicting answers that all sound reasonable. I think the ambiguity causes many to unwittingly violate the single term of the MIT license. Thanks for the good question and the good answers. :) – Sam Hiatt Sep 17 at 22:51

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