I've read many times AGPL3 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html) but I have a question, maybe somebody with a deeper knowledge can clarify me something.

I would like to use a source code which has this AGPL3, and I'd like to add a layout over it (new design, I'm meaning just to design, CSS, markup). I'm not referring to new features in backend, just the visual.

In this case, do I have to share all that visual work within the source code?

  • 2
    This depends on a lot of details you haven't made clear. Is the AGPL'd software you want to use server-side code or client-side code? Are you simply writing a new client program that talks to an existing server with AGPL'd software on it? Are you just uploading a few .css files for people to use or distributing a modified version of someone else's client?
    – Ixrec
    Jan 30, 2016 at 15:10
  • It's a source code with backend and frontend. They give you the whole software to install (PHP scripts on server generating HTML files). Imagine Digg.com source code, and I want to change design. Must I share this new design applied to source code with AGPL ?
    – FlamingMoe
    Jan 30, 2016 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Is your work a derivative work of the project licensed under the AGPL? Can it stand on its own as its own work?

As you've described it so far, the answer to this is 'no'. You are changing the design. Your modifications would be a derivative work of the original project and thus would need to be licensed under the AGPL to anyone you distribute the application to. And yes, that 'distribute the application to' is 'anyone who can run the web app'.

  • I don't get the "Can it stand on its own as its own work?" . The original AGPL'ed code has his own skin ... I'm just adding another CSS markup
    – FlamingMoe
    Jan 31, 2016 at 11:38
  • @FlamingMoe your CSS is making use of IDs and classes that are used in the application. This isn't just a "b tag uses this font, p tag has these margins".
    – user40980
    Jan 31, 2016 at 16:00

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