Let's say that I have an MIT license on some open source software I created. I understand that with an MIT license, I need to state the license information in certain points of a code. I was wondering if it would be possible to change the MIT license so that it is registered to a different person so that they can manipulate the code and then have the new code completely licensed as their own.

  • 3
    If you give them the code under the MIT license, they already can (a) copy, modify, and distribute the code, and (b) license any contributions they may make as they choose.
    – MadHatter
    Feb 21, 2018 at 13:09
  • 2
    The license doesn't belong to anyone, it is a set of terms that you allow others to use your copyrighted work. The copyright does belong to you and you can sell or give that copyright to another.
    – sambler
    Feb 22, 2018 at 5:41

3 Answers 3


If you are the copyright holder (you wrote it, but not for someone else), then you are not bound by the license. You are the licenser not the licensee.

Therefore, you can:

  • Reassign copyright to someone else.
  • Change the license (but not of already-distributed copies).
  • Do anything that you could have done, without the license.
  • 1
    Though once you have done the first of these things you are no longer the rights holder and your future interaction with the code is under the licence, so the rest of the answer no longer applies.
    – MadHatter
    Feb 24, 2018 at 11:14
  • 1
    That is an unordered list. I did not imply a chronology. Feb 24, 2018 at 19:00
  • That seems fair enough to me; thank you for the clarification.
    – MadHatter
    Feb 24, 2018 at 22:30
  • 2
    The answer is right, but please beware that you can't change the license of the copies you have already distributed - or the copies of those copies made according to your original license.
    – Pere
    Mar 7, 2018 at 12:49

As others have stated, there is no need to transfer the license. You can, however, transfer the copyright according to copyright rules. Last time I checked, that had to be done in writing. I do not know if a digitally signed document is OK but I've done it in the US.


No need to do so, whoever gets the code form you can do as they please under the license you grant. And the MIT license is very generous, it places almost no restrictions on whoever gets the code.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.