64 votes

How can a project be relicensed?

As long as you are the only contributor: You can do it, without further problem. Otherwise: It is difficult. If others contributed to your project, you have to respect their rights. So you can only ...
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  • 10.8k
63 votes

If I change the license of my project, can someone use the old license by navigating through Git history?

This is a tricky question. Open source licenses are generally irrevocable. Once you publish something under a license, you can relicense future versions but cannot retroactively change the license. ...
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  • 33k
59 votes
Accepted

Can I relicense an abandoned GPL project if the copyright owners are no longer responsive?

The GPL, and software licensing in general, must be understood in the wider context of copyright. Only the copyright holder of a software can issue a license. You have no rights to the software, ...
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  • 33k
52 votes
Accepted

Do I have to change license of fork if mainstream changes license?

Not only are you not required to change the licence, you are not permitted to. The code you took at the time was, according to you, conveyed under GPLv3. You've worked on it, and made a derivative ...
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  • 37.6k
45 votes
Accepted

Relicensing content under CC-BY-SA

I don't think so, no. CC-BY-SA 3.0 allows in s4 that You may Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work only under the terms of this License ... This Section ... applies to the Work as incorporated ...
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  • 37.6k
39 votes

Can there be a copyright on negative code?

For me, this exposes a weakness in the mental model many coders seem to have about the operation of copyright. Consider a pile of bricks, representing code contributions to a work. In one (...
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  • 37.6k
36 votes

How can a project be relicensed?

As the copyright holder you can choose to re-license your code as you see fit. What you cannot do is revoke a license if it was given in perpetuity or before the term of the license expires. What does ...
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  • 1,127
27 votes
Accepted

Can I take BSD licensed code and distribute it under GPL?

If the BSD license in question is the two- or three-clause variant (i.e. without the advertising clause), I think you're technically allowed to do it, but you couldn't really enforce it: anyone who ...
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  • 3,963
27 votes

Is it possible to change the current GPLv3 license to something else?

Anyone who received the code under the GPLv3 can redistribute it under those terms forever (and so, too, may those recipients, etc.) so if the set of recipients of your code so far is a nonempty set, ...
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  • 30.8k
24 votes

Is it possible to close an open source project?

Yes, and no. As per the question you linked, if you're the only contributor, you can do whatever you want with the project. You can take it off GitHub or whatever platform you decided, you can ...
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22 votes
Accepted

Can I relicense my own GPL code into Apache/MIT?

As the copyright holder you are in no way bound by any open source license you choose to distribute your own work under. While you cannot retroactively change the license terms of a particular ...
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20 votes
Accepted

If I include some GPL code in my project, can I release it as BSD?

Not with the license as it is. You will need to contact all the licensors of the GPL code, and request that they release it to you in a license that is compatible with the BSD license. Alternatively, ...
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  • 1,127
20 votes
Accepted

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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19 votes
Accepted

Can I license a project which I have already released without a license?

As long as you are the only contributor to a codebase, you can switch the license as you like. So yes, you can change the license, as long as you didn't use code of others. Check the answers to this ...
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  • 10.8k
19 votes
Accepted

Am I in danger if a project component is relicensed?

The important thing to know is that they (almost certainly (*)) cannot retroactively change the license of the version that you are using. They can change the license to new versions they release. So, ...
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  • 4,109
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

License validity of unreleased project

You can do nothing. Releasing software has nothing to do with version numbering; it is a matter of conveying it (which includes "making it available") to others, and making the licence terms under ...
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  • 37.6k
17 votes

How can a project be relicensed?

If you are not the sole author then it's more complicated. All contributors must agree to the license change explicitly. This agreement can be under the form of a Contributor License Agreement which ...
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17 votes
Accepted

How does re-licensing without the approval of authors work (eg, wikimedia case)?

You are correct that re-licensing virtually always requires the permission of the copyright holder. This was a rather exceptional case. All material on Wikipedia used to be under the license GFDL v1.2,...
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  • 30.8k
16 votes
Accepted

Can the Linux kernel be released under GPLv3?

When this question was asked, the kernel's COPYING file started with the following comment (second paragraph): Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is concerned is ...
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  • 3,963
16 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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  • 5,257
15 votes

Can I take BSD licensed code and distribute it under GPL?

First of all: There are three different BSD-licenses. The original BSD-license has four clauses, including a advertisement-clause. This advertisement-clause is incompatible with the GPL, so you cannot ...
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  • 10.8k
15 votes
Accepted

Relicensing an MIT licensed project under the GPL that has non code contributions from others

Just like everyone can take your MIT-licensed software and make it proprietary without having to ask all of its authors for permission, you can take your MIT-licensed software and license it under the ...
user avatar
  • 5,300
14 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to close an open source project?

Much would depend on the initial license chosen when creating the OS project. If the OSP was originally published under a copyleft license such as GPL, then the answer is clearly no. They can not ...
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  • 6,655
14 votes

Can I relicense an abandoned GPL project if the copyright owners are no longer responsive?

Copyright does not allow for that. You need to wait 70 years after the copyright holders' deaths to do this. In that respect it is no different from a closed source license: If you want to change the ...
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  • 241
14 votes
Accepted

If a project only includes a copy of the GPL, can it be relicensed under any version?

Your hunch of "no" seems correct to me. The GPL FAQ has this to say about standalone copies of the GPL without an explicit license grant: Is it enough just to put a copy of the GNU GPL in ...
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  • 30.8k
13 votes

If I include some GPL code in my project, can I release it as BSD?

No, you cannot. By including GPL-code, you are including a dependency of GPL-protected code, and therefore your code is only derived work from it. The terms of GPL requires that derived work is also ...
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  • 1,739
13 votes

How do I upgrade from GPLv2 to GPLv3?

If it is your program (and not a derivative of somebody else's program, or something that a lot of other people has contributed to), you have the full right to do whatever you like. So just create a ...
user avatar
  • 8,605
13 votes

Can I relicense my own GPL code into Apache/MIT?

If you hold the copyright to some code (usually, because you are the author), you may license that code however you please, and you may issue different licenses at any time. The matter of revoking ...
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  • 30.8k
13 votes
Accepted

Is the Maximum Use License for Everybody (MULE) a FOSS license?

Forbidding sale of the software has precedent in OSI-approved licenses, for example SIL-OFL 1.1 says: Neither the Font Software nor any of its individual components, in Original or Modified ...
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  • 33k

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