[theme-reviewers] Yet another licensing question :)

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Thu Apr 10 11:47:17 UTC 2014

On Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:33 AM, myazalea <myazalea at hotmail.com> wrote:

>  Does MIT require copyright? Then he should formalize it as
> Copyright 2014 /name/
It really isn't a question of the license, as such. You can't remove
somebody else's copyright notices, period. Basic copyright rules.

Yes, you should always use a standard format of some sort. But not using a
standard format doesn't automatically invalidate it.

Asking to keep your name in any derivative works like that is an okay and
GPL-Compatible requirement, because such a requirement is already implicit
both in the GPL and general copyright law. It is not an additional
restriction on use or distribution as defined by the GPL. He may not frame
it specifically in the realm of "copyright notice", but that doesn't
invalidate it.

MIT is perfectly GPL-Compatible too, BTW.

Now, this could be considered a restriction if it was overly broad. For
example, the original 4-clause BSD license had this line in it:
"All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must
display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software
developed by the <organization>."

This was not compatible, as such, because it went above and beyond basic
copyright, requiring mentions of the copyright holder in subsequent
advertising materials. It is an additional restriction that is not allowed.

But a simple "don't remove my name from the source code" is redundant,
because it's implied in basic copyright law. You cannot simply steal other
people's work and claim it as your own. Changing copyright notices is
always wrong. The correct thing to do when making derivative works from
somebody else's code is to add your own name, and to include a summary of
the changes made and when you made them. This is actually a requirement of
the GPL, in section 2a.

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