If I take GPL code and modify it, does it have to still be under GPL?

  • 2
    Yes, but only if you distribute it.
    – unapersson
    May 1, 2011 at 15:54
  • You can ask the original copyright holder to relicense it to you. If she agrees...
    – Vitor Py
    May 1, 2011 at 16:11
  • I am the original copyright holder. Can I relicense myself? May 1, 2011 at 16:18
  • 2
    Of course! If you're the original copyright holder you're not bound by the GPL: the GPL is a license for others to distribute your code. You're free to do wherever you chose.
    – Vitor Py
    May 1, 2011 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Yes, it does.

You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

  1. The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date.
  2. The work must carry prominent notices stating that it is released under this License and any conditions added under section 7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to “keep intact all notices”.
  3. You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.
  4. If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must display Appropriate Legal Notices; however, if the Program has interactive interfaces that do not display Appropriate Legal Notices, your work need not make them do so.

A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.

If you don't distribute it, however, this does not apply.


If you own the copyright for the work in question, you can license it in any way you want. In fact, you can have more than one license for the same work. If you do not own the copyright, you are bound by the terms of the license. SLaks provides a good overview of what that means.

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