Recently, about 50 top contributors (including myself) decided to fork Swagger Codegen to maintain a community-driven version called "OpenAPI Generator" (https://github.com/OpenAPITools/openapi-generator). For the reasons behind the fork, please refer to the Q&A.

We added the following to all Java class files in the project:

 * Copyright 2018 OpenAPI-Generator Contributors (https://openapi-generator.tech)
 * Copyright 2018 SmartBear Software
 * Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
 * you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
 * You may obtain a copy of the License at
 *     http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
 * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
 * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
 * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
 * limitations under the License.

The following is added by us and it's allowed according to the Apache v2 license:

 * Copyright 2018 OpenAPI-Generator Contributors (https://openapi-generator.tech)

QUESTION: For new files we added to the OpenAPI Generator project, do we still need to keep the following:

* Copyright 2018 SmartBear Software

One concern is that if the new files contributed by someone are simply copied from somewhere, SmartBear in this case may also be liable for the copyright issue of the new files, which is not something we want to see.

1 Answer 1


SmartBear Software only has a copyright claim on files that were copied from the Swagger repository. --And even there, I see some problems. More on that later.--

The copyright on any files that are added to the OpenAPI-Generator repository after the fork formally belongs to the contributor that added the file. The copyright on modifications made after the fork belongs, in the same vein, to the contributor that made the modification.

As that can give quite an explosion of names in the copyright statements, some projects choose to combine them in an indication like "the project X contributors". That is also what you have chosen to do.

Regarding the copyright situation of the Swagger code, I could not find anything to indicate that contributors are asked to sign a CLA or transfer their copyrights in any way, nor that "SmartBear Software" refers to the group of contributors rather than a company.

Given that, unless the contributors to Swagger are all employed by SmartBear Software, the copyright statement implying that SmartBear Software is the sole copyright holder is incorrect. Actually, there are lots of unmentioned copyright holders, in particular all contributors to Swagger.

As all contributions were made under the Apache License, I would not worry too much about it, but be prepared to add missing (older) copyright statements if someone comes with evidence that their copyright statement was incorrectly removed from the software.


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