I'm looking for an open source license that lets people do whatever they want - just like the MIT license - just as long as they attribute the original author, i.e. me.

Does a common license exist for this? If so, what is it?

  • Yes, I think so. – Ingo Sep 22 '11 at 18:30
  • @Ingo See my edit. I should know better than to be colloquial amongst coders. – Maxpm Sep 22 '11 at 18:32
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    What form of attribution are you seeking? MIT License stipulates that the license itself must be distributed and the copyright holder (i.e. you) is included in the license. – Bernard Sep 22 '11 at 18:42
  • @Maxpm - sorry for that, but I'd put a better answer if you had told us what you already looked at and why you think it's no good. – Ingo Sep 22 '11 at 18:51

The MIT License itself says:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

Just make sure to put your own name in the "above copyright notice".

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    Aah. This is why IANAL. – Maxpm Sep 22 '11 at 19:24
  • Also pick the original version of the MIT license if you wish the users (and not just the developers) of that derivative software to have access to your attribution. – Stephan Branczyk Sep 22 '11 at 22:00

The Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (or WTFPL) is very close to what you're looking for. It is only lacking attribution.

It sounds like a joke license, but it's approved as GPL-compatible by the FSF.

You could just add a bit to the license requesting attribution, but I'm no lawyer so I don't know if that would fly in court. What are the odds of a court case over your project?

Actually it does contain a copyright notice. and therefore attribution

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  • INAL, but in some countries, like Germany, you can't waive all your rights. Thus, the whole WTFPL license contract may be invalid, giving you the right to sue everybody who uses your code because he didn't acquire the rights to do so (since the license contract is invalid). – FUZxxl Mar 19 '12 at 22:04
  • Free Software Foundation licenses are the best :) – Ross Mar 19 '12 at 23:41

The GPL has a history of confusing folks and scaring them off. The Apache License is more straightforward and probably what you want.

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  • From the Apache License: You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works; – Matthew Flynn Sep 22 '11 at 22:46
  • You were right. I stand corrected. Sorry about that. – Stephan Branczyk Sep 22 '11 at 23:19

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