I have found a small oss project (one file) in someone's blog a few months ago. The license is "Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic". I sent a mail to the author if I can put this in github but got no response back. Meanwhile his blog has been shut down.

I am not a lawyer, but this seems legal to republish the code (with appropriate attribution) in github. Am I right? Is this moral? Maybe the guy just wants to disappear for a while...

  • 10
    As long as you comply with the license terms you are free to do what you want. It appears to be abandonware on top of it.
    – Rig
    May 13, 2012 at 15:26
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    I think the issue here is actually moral, since legally, you're only bound by the license, which the OP has complied with. However, even morally, IMHO he's OK, since in our spare time we usually manifest our wishes for our code in its license.
    – K.Steff
    May 13, 2012 at 17:57
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    Abandonware is not public domain. Always obey whatever copyright the code has. If it doesn't have one, then it's a non-permissive copyright. May 13, 2012 at 19:10

3 Answers 3


If it's under a license that says you can share it around but you have to attribute it to the original author, then you can share it around but you have to attribute it to the original author. It's really that simple.

I've seen more than one open-source project being hosted and maintained by someone other than the original author when the guy who wrote it lost interest (or just no longer had time to keep it running.) There's no problem with you doing the same as long as the code's released under a license that allows you to do so.


Yes, you may. The Creative Commons description of the license states:

You are free:

to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work

to Remix — to adapt the work

to make commercial use of the work

Under the following conditions:

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Which means you may use the code however you wish as long as what you make contains an attribution to the original author and is published under a similar license.


It's ok, and its one of the goals of open source, in case the original author (s) abandon the project.

Just don't forget to mention the original author, and in case you want to modify the code, ( YES, SOME OPEN SOURCE LICENSES ALLOW YOU TO MODIFY THE SOURCE CODE ), keep the license, and mention the original authors.

  • 13
    +1. Don't all "free and open source" licenses include the right to modify the source? Otherwise they wouldn't be, well, "open"!
    – MarkJ
    May 13, 2012 at 18:15

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