I made a .NET C# project with an api library published on GitHub by some company.

So I'm now going to publish mine to GitHub as well, but I've found there is no license on the repository that I included. The company has a documentation webpage that explains how to use the api and "We can download the gem file from GitHub", but there is no license. Hey?

Okay then I wonder if I can say in my readme "please follow this documentation and download this repository". Is this a good way out or something better you can suggest me?

  • "We can download the gem file from GitHub." That statement is an implied license to do that thing (to download it, and use it as you would normally on a computer), but it does not imply that you may redistribute it. – Brandin Oct 5 '18 at 4:54

If a GitHub repository is not properly licensed, then the only rights you have are those given to you under the GitHub Terms of Service. The ToS gives you the right to create a fork, but there is where it stops.

Without a copyright license, you are not allowed to incorporate the library in your own project or to build upon it. The best way out of this situation is to contact the company that owns the library and ask them to properly license the library.

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  • So is it also inappropriate to describe "follow this documentation" in my read me even if it's an interim measure until the company take an action? – kemakino Oct 3 '18 at 17:04
  • Yes. It is inappropriate to publish your project without having a copyright license for the libraries you depend on. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Oct 3 '18 at 18:49
  • I see, but, I mean, even if I don't include the library (as a folder) in my repository? – kemakino Oct 3 '18 at 23:06
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    Yes. You don't have to include something in your repository to violate the copyright rights on that work. Creating something that builds upon the work is sufficient. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Oct 4 '18 at 4:04
  • Understood. Thanks for your additional information. – kemakino Oct 4 '18 at 7:14

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