In my project there are a few library files that I would like to release under the MIT license. The rest of the project is released under GPL. How can I make it clear to someone who reads one of the MIT licensed files that it does not apply to the whole project (the "Software" as it is referred to in the license)?

Here is the MIT license:

Copyright <YEAR> <COPYRIGHT HOLDER>

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), 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, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

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

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

  • Who own the copyright of each file? Who wrote the library files? Can they be shipped separately? – Basile Starynkevitch Mar 10 at 17:14
  • By placing the license text at the top of the file. Placing a LICENSE file in the dir with them can also make it more obvious. You could also mention it in any documentation you have. – sambler Mar 10 at 18:30
  • @BasileStarynkevitch I own the copyright and I have written the library files, and yes, they can be shipped separately. – August Karlstrom Mar 11 at 11:09
  • I found essentially the same question with an excellent answer: opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/2692/…. However, I'm not entitled to mark this question as a duplicate. – August Karlstrom Mar 13 at 14:21

Make specific files available under the MIT should be easy. You can do this on a per-file basis. I suggest that you give a good look at this guidelines to make it very clear what your license is.

In your specific case where some subset of the code is MIT-licensed when the overall license is GPL, I would suggest to make it easy on your users to discover which part is which, possibly by putting the MIT-licensed code in a separate directory (if this is more than a single file). In doing so, the fact that the MIT applies only to this subset will be even clearer. Licensing clarity matters to you and everyone!.

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