If I plan to fork an MIT project and significantly modify and rename it, how do I handle the copyright notice above the MIT license on the main License file. Would I list the original author and my company, or just the original author? What are my legal options as far as attributing the original author? I intend to license our software under MIT as well and keep it open source.

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    Why do you rename it (it could be considered as unfriendly, if your name does not suggest the original name)? What is the original project? Mar 30, 2015 at 5:03
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    This question would be a good fit for the proposed Open Source Stackexchange which still needs people to commit to it so it can go into beta.
    – Philipp
    Mar 30, 2015 at 7:58
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because legal advice is explicitly off topic per help center.
    – durron597
    Mar 30, 2015 at 13:15
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    @durron597 - Software licensing is explicitly listed as on-topic on this StackExchange. programmers.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – David
    Mar 30, 2015 at 14:08
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    I'm voting this question up because software licensing is explicitly listed as on-topic per help center. Sep 6, 2016 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


The MIT license doesn't specify attribution beyond maintaining the copyright notice.

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

Somewhere within the source for the project you are considering forking, there should be a LICENSE file or equivalent. If there isn't, then you ought to create one.

The license file provides two key aspects:

  1. Statement of copyright to the source.
  2. License terms for use of the software.

To cover the first aspect, within the license file, you should state something to this effect:

Copyright for portions of project Foo are held by [original author, year] as part of project Bar. All other copyright for project Foo are held by [your name, year].

And after that copyright statement, you should make sure the full text for the MIT license is listed, which covers the second aspect.

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