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Say your company has some closely-guarded internal software that happens to have an MIT License. Maybe it was based on MIT Licensed software but has been heavily modified over the years. Your company does not want to share it with the outside world. However, one day an employee decides to post the software up on GitHub against the wishes of the company. Is this legal? Does it violate the license?

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    Which license are you wondering about - the license from the original software the modified code is based on? or the license from the company? And note that when you get into the 'legal' question its one that only lawyers can give an authoritative answer on (and we would be doing a disservice to people reading it trying to guess). – user40980 Mar 2 '14 at 2:39
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However, one day an employee decides to post the software up on GitHub against the wishes of the company. Is this legal? Does it violate the license?

Posting the code doesn't violate the MIT license.

(And the flipside is that your company not publishing the code isn't a violation either ...)

However, it is almost certainly illegal for an employee to do that. Your company probably has grounds for dismissing the employee, possibly suing him personally, and possibly reporting him to the police. (If in doubt, ask a lawyer who is familiar with your national / state laws.)

And if the position is (really) as described, your company most likely has grounds for demanding that Github take down the offending code immediately:

I would be extremely surprised if Github (or any other reputable software project hosting company) didn't take this kind of thing seriously.

  • It may also be a trade secret as it is "closely-guarded internal software". – user40980 Mar 2 '14 at 3:09
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The question is why does the internal software have an MIT license. Only the original software the code was based on would be required to be MIT licensed. New code and modifications could be copyrighted with all rights reserved.

If the whole project is not meant to be MIT licensed then it should be made clear that only the original code is under the MIT licence and that the rest is all rights reserved.

See the answers to this question. mit-license-why-isnt-it-considered-viral

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