I forked some code, the license is MIT. It states that

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

without mentioning where the license should be

This license is present in all files of the foked code, at the very top of the file and this is quite annoying when editing the file - are there any restrictions on the place a license should appear. Specifically, can I move it to the bottom of the file?

Note: this question was initially asked at SE.Law and suggested to move here.

2 Answers 2


The US Copyright Office has this to say about the positioning of copyright notices (37 C.F.R. § 202.2):

(c) Methods of affixation and positions of the copyright notice on various types of works—

(7) Works reproduced in machine-readable copies. For works reproduced in machine-readable copies, each of the following constitutes an example of acceptable methods of affixation and position of notice:

(i) A notice embodied in the copies in machine-readable form in such a manner that on visually perceptible printouts it appears either with or near the title, or at the end of the work;

So, yes, the end of a file is an acceptable place to put the copyright notice and license information.

However, I would not recommend it, as it is a widely established convention to put the copyright and license information at the very top of source code files.


As Bart mentioned, it is more conventional to put the license at the beginning of each file.

I think the GPL (v3 here) is more precise about this:

To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively state the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the “copyright” line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

They clearly say "should" and "start of each source file".

They also state why this is so: "to most effectively state the exclusion of warranty".

However, although you are expected to copy the full warranty notice to each file, you could also just have something like:

Copyright 2020 (c) My Name Here
See LICENSE.txt for details

And that should be sufficient.

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