70 votes
Accepted

Why does GPLv2 include a mailing address (51 Franklin Street) in the license notice?

It may help to remember that version 2 of the GNU GPL was published in June 1991. According to Wikipedia, only 11% of people in the developed world had internet access in 1997, and I can assure you ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 48k
42 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to have the "// (c) 2019 John Smith" header in all files when there are hundreds of contributors?

As far as I am aware, all FLOSS licenses that deal with copyright notices only require the preservation of notices that exist. Each author had the opportunity to add their own name to header when they ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 35.9k
31 votes

Locking myself from ever changing license

You can't do anything within the constraints of copyright law as the copyright holder is never restricted by the license. Practically if you accept contributions from a large number of contributors ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

Who will be the copyright owner of a new file in a forked repository on github?

Your question suggests that you regard copyrights as property rights. This is a completely understandable misconception - big content creators push this agenda quite hard - but it is a misconception. ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 48k
24 votes

Where to put license for MIT licensed code on website

I'm surprised this question doesn't come up more often. It's a tricky issue, and one that is highly open to interpretation. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. There is not a lot of specific guidance on ...
freginold's user avatar
  • 653
23 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,577
22 votes
Accepted

How much is "substantial portion" in MIT licence?

Substantial portion is a legal term. Its exact definition will depend on jurisdiction, be subject to interpretation and possibly including subjective analyses. When in doubt, ask a lawyer. To err on ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,889
20 votes
Accepted

Remove BSD LICENSE file while importing code into GPL project

The short answer is no. You cannot remove a BSD license notice, otherwise you are no longer licensed per the BSD (many variants) that all share the essential requirement to retain the copyright and ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
18 votes

Locking myself from ever changing license

You may assign the copyright of your project to a trusted organization. While you, as the copyright holder, may change the license freely, transferring your rights to someone else removes that ability....
lights0123's user avatar
17 votes

Is requiring a link to my site allowed for a FOSS license?

The idea to force users of the software to advertise the original author is not new. It was first seen in the 4-clause BSD License. There was a lot of criticism about the advertising clause, and it ...
Martin_in_AUT's user avatar
17 votes

Why don't open source licenses give a more specific definition of "derivative works" to reduce ambiguity?

Because open source licenses are copyright licenses, and copyright license do not get to define their scope as they choose; or more precisely there is a "maximum size boundary" to which the ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

License that requires attribution to end users?

Your interpretations are generally correct. Nearly all open source licenses require some amount of attribution, with exception of 0BSD and some niche crayon licenses like WTFPL. The MIT license ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.8k
14 votes
Accepted

Is CC-BY 4.0 attribution recursive?

I assume that by "Author B uses Work A to create Work B" you mean that Author B makes work B which is a copyright derivative of work A. Work C, then, is then a copyright derivative of both ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 48k
13 votes

Copyright notices and multiple developers

What is the creative work that the developers contributed to? Is every file an independent creative work for the purpose of copyright? Or does a software constituted from multiple files present a ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.8k
13 votes
Accepted

Is requiring a link to my site allowed for a FOSS license?

Let's break down this question in parts and start with the FOSS licenses common ground. The common things about FOSS licenses are that one is required to keep the copyright notices of previous ...
planetmaker's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What's the use of Apache's "Not a contribution"?

The Apache license codifies the “inbound = outbound” principle, meaning that an Apache-2.0 covered project can expect that all contributions intentionally sent to that project are also provided under ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.8k
13 votes
Accepted

How does GPL differ from CC BY-NC-SA?

CC BY-NC-SA is a copyleft-style licence (the "SA" bit), but there exist many other copyleft licences besides CC BY-NC-SA. The GPL is pretty clear that selling GPL-covered code is ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 48k
12 votes
Accepted

What if somebody removed my name from MIT license

Is this legal to do such modification? Answer no. New question: Can you do anything against this? On court: Yes, if you have registered it or at least send a postal copy to yourself. Actually it ...
Simon Sobisch's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

How do the years specified in a copyright statement work?

The year in the copyright notice refers to the year of first publication. Nowadays copyright notices and the year in the copyright notice are no longer very important, since copyright starts ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.8k
12 votes
Accepted

Does software released under GPLv3 require a copyright notice?

It depends on why you're releasing under GPL. If you're the sole rightsholder, and so not bound by the GPL, the obligations of GPLv3 s5a don't apply to you, and you can release without any particular ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 48k
12 votes
Accepted

Use SVG code licensed under CC

Fair disclosure: I'm not a lawyer. Short version: I'd do both. Longer version: The way I understand the CC license(s), the point is to make it very clear where the images you're using come from. Most ...
Mureinik's user avatar
  • 5,072
11 votes
Accepted

License violation within git history

Whilst IANAL/IANYL, and no developer, it seems to me that the question boils down to "is it a licence violation to offer a repository from which someone could, with some effort, extract a non-licence-...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 48k
10 votes
Accepted

Does Open Source Software need an EULA to protect the developer?

Free software and open source licenses Free software and open source licenses seek to grant additional rights, beyond those granted by copyright law. Strictly speaking, such licenses cover the acts ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
  • 4,183
10 votes
Accepted

Does Sourceforge have a default licence?

No, just because the software is hosted on SourceForge does not mean that it is open source. In the United States (and many other countries), works are protected by copyright and the author must grant ...
Thomas Owens's user avatar
  • 1,457
10 votes

What is the correct way to add license information to source code?

From a legal perspective: You should attach licensing information to a file in such a way that you cannot successfully deny that you intended to license the file under those terms. Suppose, at some ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 35.9k
10 votes
Accepted

How to properly assemble NOTICE file for new software under Apache License 2.0

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) draws a distinction between Apache-licensed software that is produced by the ASF, and your own software that is distributed under the Apache 2 license. The rules ...
init_js's user avatar
  • 216
10 votes

CC-BY "inheritance"?

If downstream users of your project distribute it without including attribution for the CC-BY-licensed work, they are in violation of the terms of that CC-BY-licensed work. This is an obligation that ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 35.9k
9 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to include a shorter form of a license if the license would be longer than the content licensed?

You can certainly try. Instead of including the entire license, you could have this: Copyright (c) 2016 Thomas Owens. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under the terms of the MIT license. ...
ArtOfCode's user avatar
  • 9,348
9 votes
Accepted

Copyright notice must be regularly updated while the project is active?

Since you're using the LGPL, I suggest you follow the GNU project's recommendations: your copyright notices should look like Copyright © 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 cannatag and you should simply update ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
  • 4,183

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