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

Alan McKinnon alan.mckinnon at gmail.com
Sat Dec 15 09:24:57 SAST 2007

On Saturday 15 December 2007, Wayne Koorts wrote:
> Hi all,
> 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."

You don't have to change anything in your license fom what you have done 
so far. The MIT license allows you to do basically whatever you like 
with the code except 1) claim that you wrote it (you didn't) and 2) not 
mention who did write it.

Your obligations are simpy to include a copyright notice in your program 
that you used some code under the MIT license and to acknowledge the 
authors of that code. In other words, your code stays GPL and MIT's 
code stays under their license. Even better would be if you could 
separate MIT's code into it's own file(s) and then explicitly state 
that those files are under the MIT license and retain the original 
copyright notice at the top of those files. This step is not required 
butit is very good manners.


> 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.
> Regards,
> Wayne

Alan McKinnon
alan dot mckinnon at gmail dot com

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