I'm about to make my first Python repo on github public and it needs a license. It imports four libraries, without modifying them, it merely makes use of their functions. These libraries are in requirements.txt and my application's import statements, they are not in my repository.

Their licenses are MIT, LGPLv3, "LGPL with exceptions or ZPL" and MIT.

Ideally I'd like there to be as little restriction as possible on my code and I'm not sure if what license I choose has to do with the libraries my application imports, specifically the "weak copyleft" LGPL ones. Do they matter?

  • If you are not redistributing any of those libraries, then the license of those libraries has zero effect on your code as far as what license you can use or what your obligations are. Of course, in practice, if someone wants to use your code, he has to go and download those libraries himself to use your program. And to do that, he has to agree to the license terms of those third party libraries.
    – Brandin
    Oct 20, 2019 at 14:24
  • Great to know! I'll make a short note of the respective licenses in the readme.md I think. (I don't know whether to comment like this or post an answer myself referring to your comment)
    – clips
    Oct 20, 2019 at 16:22
  • Right now I cannot do it, but maybe someone will add a proper answer with more detail.
    – Brandin
    Oct 21, 2019 at 9:41

2 Answers 2


If you didn't include code written by others into your codebase, the library licenses you mention don't put significant constraints on the licenses you can use for your code.

The main restrictions come from the LGPL licenses and boil down to the requirement that you have to make it legal and possible for the users of your code to replace the LGPL code with a different version.

In short, as long as your license does not forbid replacing those third-party libraries, you are fine.


You could say that you are not subject to the open source licenses since they are not part of your repo and thus are not distributed or conveyed by you. On the other hand you might worry if a user that actually combines your work with the libraries could encounter a license conflict. That could be the case if someone used the LGPLv3 license in a tivoized system. If your software was intended for an embedded device you might want to look for a differenzt library.

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