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The MIT licence contains

Permission is hereby granted,[..] to sell copies of the Software

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

I know that Bootstrap uses the MIT licence, I also see thousand of Bootstrap templates sold on various platforms. Does it imply, that they are all under the MIT licence and that each buyer may sell them as often as he wants?

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  • Only if the license is included in the specific template to which you are referring is MIT licensed, does the MIT license refer to that template. For example, Microsoft Windows has license X (proprietary). It does not mean that all software for MS-Windows has license X. Some Windows software has free licenses, some software has other licenses.
    – Brandin
    Apr 7, 2020 at 4:41

2 Answers 2

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No. If Bootstrap were conveyed under GPL, or another copyleft free licence, and if templates were (in copyright terms) derivative works of Bootstrap, then the templates would be required to be conveyed under GPL also, and could be distributed as you have described (though the buyers in your example would have to resell them with GPL rights attached, which might not be a great business model).

But the MIT licence, like the other weak free licences, does not require that derivatives are distributed under the same terms. It is perfectly lawful to mix proprietary and MIT-licensed software, and the proprietary software does not become implicitly freely-licensed by this.

You will have to examine each of these Bootstrap templates for the terms that govern the purchase, and if (as is likely) they are non-free, you have no more right to sell copies of them than you do with, say, Microsoft Office.

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  • Thanks a lot for your answer! But where do you got this from? I don't find in the offical MIT licence a statement like The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies, unless the software is used as fundament of a new software. I know it would not be a great business model, :), but I just see so many sold software that is using a bunch of MIT-licensed software and I wonder, where is the threshold where a modified MIT software can be licensed as non-free like Microsoft Office.
    – Adam
    Apr 1, 2020 at 7:09
  • I guess opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/2187/… is what I am looking for..
    – Adam
    Apr 1, 2020 at 7:11
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    @Adam there is no such threshold. Modified or even unmodified MIT software can be distributed under a non-free licence. Yes, you have to preserve the MIT license statement but it doesn't have to apply to what you are shipping, it is just text that must be supplied with it. Weak licences lack language like GPLv3 s5c, that require the licence not only to be communicated but to apply to the redistributed code in its entirety.
    – MadHatter
    Apr 2, 2020 at 6:24
  • so if I create a Bootstrap theme, the Bootstrap Framework will keep the MIT License, and I can use whatever license for my theme code? So I have different licenses for different part of codes?
    – Adam
    Apr 2, 2020 at 6:33
  • @Adam it's hard to say, because you haven't linked to the Bootstrap framework, which makes researching it rather more difficult than it need be. But broadly speaking, I believe that you may incorporate MIT-licensed code into your program, then distribute that program under any licence you please; see my answer over on law.SE for a more detailed discussion of the issue.
    – MadHatter
    Apr 2, 2020 at 7:04
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Bootstrap itself is licensed under the MIT license, but not necessarily the themes other people create. You have to follow the license that comes with the theme.

With the MIT license, you can combine MIT licensed code with code that falls under another license. But that does not mean the MIT license applies to the rest of the work.

It's not like the GPL where the GPL license applies to derivatives. With the MIT license, people who create derivatives can release their changes under any license they want. The new license applies to their contributions only, and the MIT license applies to the original author's work only.

So, Bootstrap themes that are not created by Bootstrap are not licensed by Bootstrap. The MIT license from Boostrap only applies to stuff that Bootstrap created. Any other author can license their work as they see fit and charge you for their theme.

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