Given a project which is under MIT, has been archived, can it be forked, restarted the dev and be redistributed/renamed?

  • 1
    The MIT license is comparatively simple. Could you explain more specifically what part you have difficulty understanding? As the question currently stands, it could be answered by copying most of the license: “Permission is hereby granted, […] 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, […]”
    – amon
    Sep 28, 2018 at 16:54
  • I'm having problems to understand one thing. This project was on a org and the original author quit so other org members decided to halt the project. I went to talk to one of them and he said "The project is nuked and licensed to the original author, he won't allow forks, etc.". Is that statement true to the MIT license?
    – PlayMa256
    Sep 28, 2018 at 16:56
  • You need to determine the license. If the MIT license is used, you're in the clear. If there was some connection to MIT but it used another license, that's not so clear. If you have a copy of the software in the first place, you can check the license. If there is no license, you can't fork the software. Check the license and get back to us. Sep 28, 2018 at 17:55
  • Apparently it is full MIT although not stated as MIT. github.com/webpack-contrib/webpack-serve/blob/master/LICENSE
    – PlayMa256
    Sep 28, 2018 at 18:03
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    @PlayMa256 That license says that modifying and redistributing is allowed. Is that what you mean by 'fork'? That license text is commonly known as 'MIT', although the word MIT does not appear in the license text itself.
    – Brandin
    Oct 1, 2018 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


The project's license says:

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software... 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...

This means that you may distribute the software further, modified or unmodified, and other downstream recipients may do so as well. This is all that is required to maintain a fork.

  • @PlayMa256: For clarification, you have permission to do these things as stated in the license, however you may be required to change the name if the project's current name is in any way protected (e.g. by trademark) and it may be a good idea to change the name anyway to avoid confusion. It's also probably best to mention somewhere that 'project x is a fork from project y'...
    – 3D1T0R
    Sep 30, 2018 at 2:07
  • Does that mean that the fork will have two LICENSE notices, one is the original, and the second is my own? Oct 6, 2020 at 9:05
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    @Andrew If you also license your changes under the same terms as the original project, you can simply add your own copyright notice. If you choose to license your changes under a different license (which the MIT allows -- it is very permissive), then you can add those other terms, and information about which files they apply to.
    – apsillers
    Oct 6, 2020 at 13:15

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