I know the MIT license is suitable for code and its associated documentation.

However, is it suitable for an open source specification (without any code)? Or should I use a different license (and what license in that case)?

If I create an open source implementation of my specification, must I include both an MIT license for the code and the license of the specification I'm implementing?

1 Answer 1


must I include [...] an MIT license for the [...] license of the specification I'm implementing

Categorically, no. The license of the text of a specification has zero influence on the license of any implementations of the specification. You can have an GPL implementation of a proprietary specification, and you can have a proprietary implementation of a GFDL specification.

The only exceptions to this would be:

  1. Patents.
  2. Anything where you copy example code from the specification.
  • 4
    Patents are actually a very good reason to be discerning in your choice of license for the spec. For example, the Apache license might be a better choice than the MIT license, although it has the disadvantage of being substantially longer.
    – Kevin
    Jun 5, 2019 at 18:29

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