choosealicense.com claims that the MIT license is “A permissive license that is short and to the point. It lets people do anything with your code with proper attribution and without warranty” (emphasis mine). Reading the license, though, I don’t see anything claiming that attribution to the original author has to be anywhere, so where are they taking that from?


The fourth paragraph says that the copyright notice in the second paragraph must be reproduced. Users of the licence substitute the [fullname] with their actual name. That is what constitutes "proper attribution" in the mind of the MIT: every user of the software can find out who wrote it if they want to.


Note: before you mercilessly downvote - please understand the four-corners legal principle, international interpretation, and the Usage of Trade principle, and of course - be objective.

I've found answers convincing me both ways. The short answer is, you probably should, just because it's nice.

In MIT's case I feel people take it for granted that attribution is required for shipping compiled versions, and that the attribution must be visible to the end users. Of course, the good samaritans in us think this would be the default nice thing to do.

Looking at the license I see no evidence for that requirement.

the Software has a specific meaning in the MIT license.

...this software and associated documentation files (the "Software")

the Software is not explicitly your works, derivations, adaptations or compiled versions. If it were, then it could be considered as a viral licence like GPL.


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

Remember, the Software is their software, not yours.

If you are submitting open source code to github and included the Software, then absolutely, it means keep the LICENSE.TXT and copyright headers.

But for a product.... The MIT licence does not indicate that there must be public attribution in your end product, but that the notice shall be included in their software. If it was compiled in it's a grey area.

This first clause may also stem from old-law.

"Copyright laws used to require that copyrighted works carry an explicit notice in published forms to receive copyright protection" Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing

However, there are many who believe the opposite. It doesn't hurt you to attribute. It's nice, just don't accidentally licence your own product as MIT in the process unless you want to.

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    I think this answer is very confusing. People don't take attribution of the MIT license for granted. It says right in the license "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software." It's hard to make it any more clear than that. You can't take something for granted that is explicitly stated. – Bryan Oakley Feb 28 '16 at 17:59
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    The main point was the use of 'the Software', which doesn't necessarily mean 'your software or derivative works'. – GilesDMiddleton Feb 28 '16 at 18:05
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    What constitutes a "substantial portion?" With GitHub being used more frequently like a programmer's personal scratch pad, snippets of code are getting shorter and shorter; more and more trivial. – BTownTKD Feb 20 '17 at 18:33

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