If a component “A” is under MIT License ,but it contains some GPL files, according to GPL the whole code should be GPL. But the component is released under MIT. Is it possible? If yes/no, on what scenarios can it happen or can get complied

Example i have Jar files contains few files which has GPL license but still jar file released under MIT?

How is that possible?

Please mention few components name where you come across, GPL license and MIT or BSD license with in it, but release under BSD or MIT

  • As for the matter, as it described by you – no, this is impossible and violate terms of GNU GPL; but the answer could be more definite if you give a link to code repository or, as a minimum, say a name of that mysterious component ‘A’. Sep 24, 2014 at 7:59
  • i would like to know if such scenarios exist, if yes please explain in detail. For example - Android; the project license for android is apache (permissive license) but android project contain GPL'd & LGPL'd code as well. Sep 24, 2014 at 8:57
  • As well as ‘project license’ for FreeBSD is 2-clause BSDL, while it includes code covered by 3-clause BSDL, GNU GPL, etc; that by no means is a license for a whole distribution, but just a license under terms of which they decide to release their own work. Sep 24, 2014 at 9:24
  • 1.But my question, why they are not releasing it under GPL. According to the GPL rule it should be under GPL right? How come they can make it apache? What is thumb rule or in which scenario we can make it as such? 2.As you mentioned "but just a license under terms of which they decide to release their own work." , you mean to say their own code, proprietary code? Sep 24, 2014 at 9:39
  • Who ‘they’ and what ‘it’? Google / AOSP? FreeBSD? Obviously, they do not want by their own reasons. If you’re asking, why they have their right not to release their work under GPL, read this: gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#GPLInProprietarySystem (There FSF refers to proprietary system, but the same applies to free system under non-GPL too, of course). Sep 24, 2014 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


If a jar file (or other compiled binary) is built from sources that, in part, are licensed with the GPL license, then the jar file must be distributed under the terms of that license.

If there is a project that contains GPL source code, but distributes its binaries under a different license, then that project is in violation of the GPL license. If possible you should avoid using those binaries or you should at the very least treat them as being covered by the GPL license.
In legal terms, there isn't much that you can do, as only the copyright holders whose copyright is being violated can take legal steps against such violations.

Note that the project authors are perfectly within their rights to use a different, GPL compatible, license for their own source files and they can also distribute binaries under that license if no GPL source files were used to build that binary.

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