29 votes

Do I really need to include a licence file for common licences like GPL or MIT?

GPL licenses are legal documents, so you modify them or ignore their terms at your own risk! GNU.org has an FAQ addressing this: Why does the GPL require including a copy of the GPL with every copy ...
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  • 8,533
26 votes

Can I change the caps to lowercase in licenses?

Programmers.SE has a similar question: Can I remove all-caps and shorten the disclaimer on my License? Tim Post's answer (which he says was derived from advice from a lawyer) says: The caps allow you ...
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  • 31.3k
25 votes
Accepted

Should I include license text in a single file or all source files?

For the Apache 2.0 License, there is both the legal code, and what you need to "apply" the license to the work in question. Having a license file provides the legal code. That's great, but it doesn't ...
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  • 6,239
17 votes
Accepted

Can I make typographical changes to the MIT license?

The copyright line isn't actually part of the license, it's a separate entity. So changing that doesn't change the license. In fact "©" is the correct form, so that change at least counts as an ...
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  • 4,003
11 votes

Should I include license text in a single file or all source files?

I'm not aware of any jurisdiction that has a law that explicitly states that a license notice must be included in each file, or conversely that it need not be included in each file. In all countries ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Include Appendix of Apache 2.0 in LICENSE file?

You may freely omit the Appendix. From the Apache License 2.0: Redistribution. You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof [...] provided that You meet the ...
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  • 31.3k
9 votes
Accepted

Can I include license text in my project's README and not add a license file?

You can absolutely do that and it is fairly common. A file called LICENSE has no special legal significance. It is the responsibility of a user of the software to obtain necessary licenses, so the ...
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  • 33.8k
8 votes
Accepted

How to combine multiple LICENSE notes into single file?

There is no "exact format" as most licenses let you free in how to organize their notices. One common pattern is to concatenate the different LICENSE in your own LICENSE file, starting with ...
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  • 5,277
8 votes
Accepted

Android - External library license in project

From section 4 sub-section a, You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a copy of this License There's no requirement of where it should be. Google's Play Music uses some ...
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  • 314
8 votes
Accepted

google_font license (Apache2.0) has no Copyright what to do?

Section 4(c) lists the only obligations you have with regards to copyright notices: You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, ...
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  • 31.3k
7 votes

Should I include license text in a single file or all source files?

It is recommended in many places, including by the license writers, to include the license header as well as the license file. Some reasons for this are: it clearly demonstrates what the license ...
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  • 8,750
7 votes

Why do licenses such as the MIT License specify a single year?

The year is part of the copyright notice, not the license. It's important to understand that copyright notices are not very important now, after the widespread international ratification of the Berne ...
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  • 31.3k
6 votes
Accepted

How to deal with unofficial/proprietary licences - are open source projects of this type really open?

Beware of projects which claim to be open source but don't have a standard license approved by the FSF or approved by the OSI. Some people misunderstand what "Open Source" actually means. It is a ...
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  • 11.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Commercial software using open source library: legal notice

It depends upon the license, and you can find out by reading the license. Many, such as Apache-2.0 require the license to accompany binary distributions, but some certified as Open Source don't. ...
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6 votes
Accepted

MIT-licensed project that only consists of a README file

I am not a lawyer, but I would recommend against having the full text of the MIT License in both the README and LICENSE files. Just like with real code, duplication can be a maintenance hazard. If you ...
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  • 1,864
6 votes

The GPL states that its text should be reproduced verbatim. What does this mean?

These changes are not material: The license document and the license are different entities. The GPLv2 document has the following structure: The name and version of the license. The copyright and a ...
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  • 33.8k
6 votes
Accepted

What license is the text of "Unlicense" licensed under?

The footer of the Unlicense web page indicates that the entire page (including the text of the license) is licensed under CC0 Public Domain Dedication. However, if it weren't licensed that way, the ...
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  • 31.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Using open source license text verbatim without attribution

It depends on the license! Some licenses' texts specify what can be done with them; e.g. the GPL v3 starts with Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. http://fsf.org/ Everyone is permitted ...
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  • 4,003
5 votes

How to license website hosted on GitHub?

This is really about a practical problem caused by the way GitHub's forking works, together with how the gh-pages branches automatically creates a public page. If you believe that this arrangement ...
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  • 8,533
5 votes

Do I really need to include a licence file for common licences like GPL or MIT?

Yes. It is not fair to ask the user to search for the license terms and hoping he picked the right one, as he has to follow this license.
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  • 10.8k
5 votes

Can I omit the preamble of the GPL?

No. From the GPL: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. The preamble is just a few percent of the text, I would ...
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5 votes
Accepted

BSD 3-clause: how to update with modifications?

Removing somebody else's copyright notices is usually a big no-no. The first condition of the BSD 3-clause license: Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this ...
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5 votes
Accepted

If I'm installing a binary, where do I put the license?

This isn't really relevant for Open Source Stack Exchange, but as far as the installation of documentation on a Unix-style system goes, I'd simply adapt the FHS location for documentation to /usr/...
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  • 4,003
5 votes
Accepted

Why copyright notices in source files?

Files and authors can have many-to-many relationships: a file may have many different authors. I suppose you could enumerate the list of copyrights of each and every file in a master list somewhere, ...
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  • 31.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Can I move an in-line license to a file?

When using longer licenses like GPL and Apache it is common to point to a full copy of the license but the shorter ones like BSD or MIT are normally kept whole. There are no strict rules on where you ...
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  • 1,455
4 votes

Where should I place my Open Source license in my project?

I agree with the other answers on the principal - it should be easy to find, although I'm not sure the examples his answer provided are are indeed the most common. Projects created on (i.e., by) ...
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  • 3,807
4 votes
Accepted

Placement of copyright and license variables within Python source?

Some licenses, like Apache 2.0 as you noted, recommends including a copy of the license, or some shortened version, in each file. It's best if you can follow these recommendations, but as long as it's ...
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  • 8,533
4 votes
Accepted

Most fitting software license for customized client work?

It is not common to use open-source licenses for consulting work. Instead, the contract would contain a license from you to the client which covers whether and under which conditions the work may be ...
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  • 33.8k
4 votes
Accepted

Can i use website domain as author for open source license?

First, modern copyright law imposes no requirement to include a copyright notice whatsoever. You could include no copyright notice, and your work would be just as covered by copyright law as a work ...
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  • 31.3k

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