2

Say I fork a project. I'd like to adjust the format of the license without actually changing its content. Is this allowed?

Specifically, the license does not contain line breaks in some cases. So when this is seen online there are a couple of very long lines. I'd like to add line breaks to make it more readable.

Old license (after forking some project)

MIT License

Copyright (c) <year> <copyright holders>

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 (including the next paragraph) 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.

New license (after reformat; basically adding line breaks for readability)

MIT License

Copyright (c) <year> <copyright holders>

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:

(...)¹

¹ Not showing the rest of the license (in this question) but would appear in the forked project.


Related:

5

As mentioned in the answer to Can I change a LICENSE file text format?, the formatting of the license text can have legal significance. For this reason alone, it is not recommended to change even the formatting of a license because it can have unintended effects.

That said, if the re-formatting is limited to adding line breaks at logical places to a paragraph of text, that is probably safe.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.