68 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 ...
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  • 38.8k
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 ...
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  • 31.3k
27 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. ...
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  • 38.8k
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
18 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 ...
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  • 8,533
18 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 ...
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18 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 ...
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  • 5,297
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
17 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 ...
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  • 573
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 8,460
12 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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11 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 ...
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11 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 ...
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  • 38.8k
10 votes

How should I re-license the scaffold code for my new application? (it is licensed under MIT)

The MIT license is a very permissive license, and allows re-licensing. The license doesn't require you at all to to keep the attribution line in any of the files, but it's kind of a dick move to ...
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  • 9,006
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 ...
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  • 4,003
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 ...
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  • 1,447
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 ...
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  • 31.3k
10 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-...
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  • 38.8k
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 ...
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  • 216
10 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 ...
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  • 33.8k
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 ...
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  • 31.3k
9 votes
Accepted

How can the Linux kernel's main.c file say that one of its copyrights is "all rights reserved" when it's GPL?

Copyright and open source are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most open-source licenses depend on copyright in order to function properly. The GPL comes most readily to mind: you couldn't enforce the ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Copyright until the present year in BSD license?

The answer to your question is very wide, because it depends on the Laws of the Country you're referring to. To keep a long story short the above copyright statement is incorrect for any license. ...
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  • 399
8 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. ...
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  • 8,770
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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  • 5,297
8 votes
Accepted

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

No example is required, as the GPL itself tells you how to do it, down at the bottom in the section entitled "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs". In short, they recommend you include your ...
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  • 38.8k
8 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 ...
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  • 33.8k
8 votes

Can I skip the end of term for my license in the preamble of my source code?

Putting "now" is a bad practice since it will necessarily become inaccurate over time. Even if you continue to update your work and remember to change "now" to a specific year whenever you make your ...
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  • 31.3k

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