Slightly OT: Licensing questions from a FOSS newb

Tyler Knott tywebmail at
Wed Feb 21 20:51:30 PST 2007

Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
> I've decided to go with an MIT license 
> (  What I want to know 
> is if all I really have to do is slap that at the top of all my source files 
> in a comment block, or if there's something more that I have to do.

Yeap, that's pretty much all you need to do.  If you really wanted to you could get your code formally copyrighted, but 
that's not at all necessary since implicit copyrights are just as binding as formal ones (at least in most of the world).

 > I mean, that's about all I've ever seen anyone else do.  I just don't know
 > if putting the text of the license in all my source files is actually legally
 > binding or what.

Well, technically if the license is invalid then the people you're sharing the source with have *no* legal rights.  What 
you're doing when you use a "copyleft" license is saying "Okay, I own this work's (in this case code's) copyright and 
you can use this work if you want but only under the terms of X license(s), otherwise all rights reserved" where X 
is/are whichever license(s) you choose for your code.  Under most licenses can change the license(s) at any time, though 
only for your own code (because you don't own the copyright on the code of other contributors).  I recommend reading the 
Wikipedia article on Copyleft if you want more information.

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