[CLUG-tech] Open source licensing question - does mine need to change?

Neil Blakey-Milner nbm at nxsy.org
Sat Dec 15 08:49:35 SAST 2007


On 12/15/07, Wayne Koorts <wayne at wkoorts.com> wrote:
> I've written an application up to the point of performing the function
> for which it was intended ("complete").  I released the application
> under the GNU GPL.  I have since added features from another application
> which was released under the MIT license.  I have not directly copied
> and pasted but have adapted the code to suit my needs and give mention
> of the author in both the source file (it's one file at this stage) and
> on my app's website.
>
> My question is whether my license now has to change from the GPL to the
> MIT license?  The MIT license snippet in the borrowed application's
> source file (also one file) indicates:
>
> "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included
> in all copies or substantial portions of the Software."
>
> It seems now that maybe I can't have both my license _and_ their license
> applying to the same source so how does this all work exactly?  I'm
> hoping somebody with more experience with licenses can provide me with
> some clarity.

If you were using the MIT license originally, and using something from
a GPL project now, you would probably [1] need to change to use the
GPL license (at minimum - you could provide the code _you_ have
written under multiple licenses).

However, in this case, using something with the MIT license will not
affect any code other than the code that you have used under the MIT
license.  And that code just needs to keep a notice saying that it was
derived from code under a particular copyright and distributed under a
particular license.  So, in other words, you're okay - your existing
code can stay as it is.  Just be sure to attribute the MIT code
correctly.

[1]   Probably, since you may or may not be affected by the terms of
the license depending on exactly how you adapted it.  But that's
another story entirely.

Neil
-- 
Neil Blakey-Milner
http://nxsy.org/
nbm at nxsy.org


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