83

If a repository has no license, then all rights are reserved and it is not Open Source or Free. You cannot modify or redistribute this code without explicit permission from the copyright holder. I'm unsure of the legal implications of actually pulling the source local and building/using the software privately though. Perhaps someone else can chime in on ...


64

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 laws apply. ...if you publish your source code in a public repository on GitHub... you allow others to view and fork your repository. The first ...


21

There is no longer any need to guess the meaning from GitHub's Terms of Service. GitHub explains it themselves pretty well on their own choosealicense.com website: If you find software that doesn’t have a license, that generally means you have no permission from the creators of the software to use, modify, or share the software. Although a code host such ...


19

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 question about relicensing, if you want to know under which circumstances you can change the license. Basically the same applies here, as you practically you ...


14

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 your Content. By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and fork your repositories. So effectively you don't have ...


12

A common misunderstanding is that if you put something online without a license text to accompany it, anyone is free to do with it whatever they want. This isn't true. Whatever you create is copyrighted to you, and can't be re-used without receiving a license from you allowing them to do so. Claims like "all rights reserved", icons like ©, etc. don't mean ...


11

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 predict the outcome of such a conflict. The court may decide the law is superior to the click-wrap of GitHub's TOS, or vice versa. Nobody will know the answer ...


10

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 specific licenses. A work that is uploaded to SourceForge without a specific license granted is protected by copyright. However, unlike GitHub, SourceForge ...


9

No. You can claim it's open source, but it wouldn't be true. If you don't declare under what agreement people can use the work, or what rights they have, they should legally assume they have no rights (i.e. it is entirely your copyright). The fact that you haven't included a copyright notice doesn't matter: a CN is a nicety which is in fact there to remind ...


5

There might be such a thing as implicitly-licensed code, but if there is, old age doesn't make it so. Under the Berne Convention, the exploitation rights to any creative work are reserved from the moment of the work's creation. Old code whose current rightsholder is unclear is known as abandonware; like any other copyright work which has not been clearly ...


4

Assuming you are the only copyright holder on the code of the library, you can freely change the license that is applied to the library. With the unlicensed version of your library, the rights of others are very limited. They may fork your repository (per the ToS of GitHub), but that is just about where it stops. People are not allowed to make changes or ...


3

This means you have no rights to use, modify, run or distribute the code, but may only use it to study.


3

It seems obvious that this was intended to protect Github itself from claims of copyright infringement arising from the creation of forks. It wasn't meant for the benefit of Github users, so it's not surprising that it's of little practical use. You can create a fork, but without a license, you still can't do anything with the fork.


2

If you are the sole copyright holder of a work* you can at any time change the licence of the work. This includes adding, removing or switching licences. But doing this will not retroactively remove the rights of anyone who acquired a copy of the work while it was licensed under the old licence. *(If you are not the sole copyright holder then you need to ...


1

If there is no explicit license, you have to assume that there is no license, you are in essence not even allowed to copy it to your machine and use it. Sure, nobody is going to sue you for doing so; but if you build multi-million dollar enterprise on it, it will happen. Be nice. Ask the author for permission. Tell them to select a license for their code ...


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