i am using several OSS libs from github in my project and want to add them to a combined licence file (using the amazon oss attribution builder) so i can attribute their work.

However, several of them them contain only a license file without a copyright notice with contributor(s) and years.

E.g. https://github.com/msteiger/jxmapviewer2/blob/master/license.txt

-> There is no "Copyright 2012-2017 MSteiger and Contributors" or similar like in other projects.

Is there some kind of best practice for adding this kind of missing information? Or should i just leave year and contributor information empty?

1 Answer 1


The file in the repo you've linked to is the LGPL itself, which is definitely not going to have the package author's copyright in it. As it says, it is Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

If we examine one of the source files inside the repo, eg https://github.com/msteiger/jxmapviewer2/blob/master/license.txt , we find

* A simple sample application that shows
* a OSM map of Europe 
* @author Martin Steiger

The copyright notice is not a requirement of the Berne convention. LGPL3, via GPL3 s7, requires

preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material

but you're not obliged to create them if they're not there. Nevertheless, I applaud your drive for proper attribution. Looking at the git history on that file, my feeling is that, while you are in no wise obliged to, if you wanted to add the comment

(c) 2012 Martin Steiger

to that file, and comparable and appropriate notices to other files in the work, that would satisfy the requirements of both honour and the licence.

  • Thank you very much, that resolved it for me!
    – ptstone
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 9:05
  • Is it mandatory? I have some BSD 3-Clause code up on github and I didn't include a special copyright notice anywhere. Is it customary to put it in the license itself or in the comments at the start of the file? Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 6:50
  • 1
    @some_guy632 as the answer says, "the copyright notice is not a requirement of the Berne Convention". In my experience, the most common place for a copyright notice is at the start of each file. Don't put it in the licence, as you don't have copyright on that - the authors of the licence do.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:25
  • I saw that but I asked because the answer was pertaining to GPL-style code. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 8:23
  • 1
    Fair enough. Should this kind of issue crop up again, the best thing to do is to open a new question, linking to this question and any other research you may have done, and asking the explicit question you have. That's how the site's designed to work, and it makes it easier for others to benefit from your question - which I think is a good one - and the accompanying answers.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 8:28

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