Let's take an example:

User A

MIT license
Copyright (C) 2014, User A

User B

other license (not MIT) in which people who
fork won't require mention of the current copyright notice
Copyright (C) 2014, User B & User A

User C

any license
Copyright (C) 2014 User C
(No link with User A because User B's license did not require mention)

  • User A releases a JavaScript library under MIT license. The first line of the license contains :

    Copyright (C) 2014, User A.

  • User B forks the project (with a new name) and his new own license. 1st question: What does he need to write ?

    Copyright (C) 2014, User A and User B ?


    Copyright (C) 2014, User B (original author: User A) ?

    Moreover, let's say User B's license (not MIT) doesn't contain The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. anymore (this was present in User A's MIT license).

  • User C forks User B's project. As User B's new license does not contain the previous sentence (The above copyright...), then User C has no link with User A's license. Is that right ?

    2nd question : Is it mandatory for User C to mention User A?

    It seems that in that story, User A's wish (his copyright notice to be included in forks) is not respected.

1 Answer 1


To quote from MIT license text:

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c)

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

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

Anyone who distributes this code must include the license. So if B forks from A, B must include the license. B may not remove the license restrictions without A's permission, so if C forks from B, C must also abide by these license restrictions.

In other words, in your question, B is violating the license terms and thus may not legally do this.

(Of course, I am not a lawyer. Please consult one if you need to do such things.)

  • 1
    C might have removed all of A's parts from B thus C might not contain stuff copyrighted by A anymore. But that's quite a specific case. It's most likely an oversight of C, not any kind of bad intention.
    – johannes
    Dec 5, 2014 at 0:58
  • 2
    Thanks @StevenBurnap. About 1st question, how should User B write its copyright ? Copyright (C) 2014, User A and User B ? Another way?
    – Basj
    Dec 5, 2014 at 13:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.