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71 votes
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How does GitHub's "forking right" cope with an "All rights reserved" project?

First of all, these two statements are made in sequence, not parallel (credit to MSalters for crystallizing this point): Generally speaking, the absence of a license means that the default copyright ...
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39 votes
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Is keeping the forking link on a true fork necessary? (Github/GPL)

There is no requirement whatsoever in any version of the GPL to maintain a reference to some upstream project. Imagine if you use substantial code from multiple GPL-licensed projects: the GitHub ...
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20 votes
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Derivatives and Forks... Is there a difference?

What's the difference? Is there a difference at all? The obvious difference is that "derivative (work)" is a legal term, and "fork" is a software term. For example, the musical and motion picture "...
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20 votes
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What can I do when a fork of my project is out-competing mine?

Forking is not only a possibility of open source development, it's an express intention. If their fork is more popular than yours, this may be because they do something technically better than you, in ...
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20 votes
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Rules/Guidelines about forking a project vs. creating a new one?

You should (github) fork when: You intend on submitting pull requests back upstream. The maintainer doesn't like your new feature set, so you decide to add them anyway, and maintain the fork in ...
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20 votes
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Can I change the license of a forked project to the MIT if the license of the parent project has changed from the GPL to the MIT?

That depends. If you didn't make any changes in your fork of the project, you can just update your fork to include the latest upstream changes and get the license change along with it. If the ...
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18 votes
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How do Chromium and Chrome relate to each other?

It would be more correct to state that Chrome is a fork of Chromium. Chromium is an open source web browser available under many different licenses. Many of them are permissive and allow to use it as ...
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18 votes
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Forking repos to "back up" in case they are removed?

Oddly enough, I just did this with two repos I wanted to ensure continued access to. So no, it's not a silly idea. However, remember that you have now committed yourself to monitoring the upstream (...
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  • 6,695
16 votes

What type(s) of licenses ensures that forks of my project will stay open source?

The general term for this type of license is copyleft, share-alike or (pejoratively) viral licenses. The two best-known examples of such licenses are the GNU General Public License (for source code) ...
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16 votes
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How to deal with licences after forking a project?

No, you are not allowed to change the copyright notice. Indeed, the license text states pretty clearly: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or ...
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16 votes
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Forking GitHub repository (MIT): what references to the original author should remain intact?

Your assumptions are mostly correct but you can make things a tad simpler... You are de-facto creating a new package, so you should update your package.json such that it is clear it is something ...
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16 votes
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How do I deal with authorship after a fork?

You have forked a GPLv2 package, and created a derivative work therefrom. You are curious about the licensing and copyright arrangements for the new work. Fortunately, neither of these are in any ...
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15 votes

How does GitHub's "forking right" cope with an "All rights reserved" project?

Well, you actually give up a few rights by accepting the terms of service. The terms of service declare: However, by setting your pages to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view ...
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15 votes
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Authors and contributors of forked project

Should I list myself as author, and original author as contributor? Or should I somehow refer to the company in general? Or it is legal to only mention myself here (and leave the reference to ...
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13 votes

How does GitHub's "forking right" cope with an "All rights reserved" project?

The two fragments you've highlighted contradict each other. The real question is: What will the courts make out of this, if a fork happens, and the original author decides to sue? I am not going to ...
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  • 8,645
13 votes

Common practice on GitHub and license/copyright

Licenses only matter if there is a conflict between programmers. If programmers don't get in any conflict or dispute, then you can be as informal as you want and everything will go fine. According to ...
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13 votes
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Should I use my own license in a fork of another GitHub repository, which I've revamped completely?

The MIT license is very permissive; you are allowed to release your own work under a different license if it was based on something released under the MIT license. See also this answer on Software ...
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  • 341
12 votes
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When should I consider creating a private fork of a suitably licensed project for commercial use?

The main problem with a private fork is that you now have to do the maintenance work of merging any changes made on the upstream version. This work will become more and more the further your forks ...
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  • 11.3k
12 votes

Recourse for forks ignoring open source license on original code in App Store?

It certainly sucks when people take your work and use it in ways against your permission, like copying your copyleft work without also sharing their changes. Fortunately you don't have to go straight ...
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  • 8,463
12 votes

Starting (not forking) a new project based on a seemingly dead one

Forking and starting your own repo and submitting a PR to the current repo are not mutually exclusive. You could do both and decide which branch to keep working on based on the action or inaction of ...
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  • 354
12 votes
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Is ripping off an open source library okay?

Generally, a fork done without consultation of the original project (and without the intent to merge change back upstream eventually) is called a "hostile fork". Performing a hostile fork is -- as its ...
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  • 30.9k
12 votes

How is the wow.js fork free, while the original project is not free?

Until 21st February 2016, the matthieua version was licensed under the MIT license; you can see the commit which changes the license to GPL v3 here. The GPLv3 is of course still an open source license,...
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11 votes
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Can I be charged for support from the original developers when I fork a project?

Not after you've been given it. When giving you support, the supporter (the dev in this case) has essentially said "I'm happy with the payment I'm getting for this." If the payment is nothing, fine. ...
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  • 8,700
11 votes

Is it possible to get rich prosecuting GitHub users of an unlicensed fork?

Yes, creating derivatives of a copyrighted work is generally the exclusive right of the copyright holder. If the copyright holder has not licensed this right to you, you don't have the right to create ...
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10 votes

When does a forked project require a license?

An Open Source license allows forking and redistributing with changes under the (at least) same license under which you got it (though there may be trademark issues). This is one of the fundamental ...
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10 votes
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What does the 'right to fork' mean?

The right to fork refers to forking as in taking a software project and maintaining it separately from the original. Having the right to fork a work means having the right to modify your own copy. In ...
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10 votes

Preventing people from forking and profiting over minor changes

When you release software as open source, it's your intention that others can take it and do whatever they want with it — either as copyleft (where they must do so under the same license) or as ...
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  • 8,986
10 votes

Forking repos to "back up" in case they are removed?

With the recent demise of Google Code, I've strived to get a lot of popular repositories that I may potentially use, and host copies of them on Github, or on my own personal computer. I don't really ...
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  • 6,229
9 votes

What can I do when a fork of my project is out-competing mine?

If they're out-competing you, they've got something you haven't. This may be: more updates more in-demand features more contributors better publicity Whatever it is, try to find out what it is. If ...
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  • 8,700
9 votes

When should I consider creating a private fork of a suitably licensed project for commercial use?

There is a third option: Create a fork and publish it under the same license as the original Your changes might not be desirable to the original upstream but that doesn't mean somebody else couldn't ...
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