Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Sometimes I use plugins and 3rd party libraries, and one thing that drives me crazy is when these libraries are not versioned. So, if I download it, make some mods to it, I am the only person in the world who can benefit from it... well, until I version it myself.

My question is simple: if a library I find online has an MIT License, would it violate the license if I download it, modify it, and put it on github?

I'm not trying to pass it off as my own, I'm just trying to help the community benefit from my work. A lot of libraries are pretty nice, but for some reason they aren't versioned...


share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

From my understanding (I am not a lawyer) for the MIT license that would be fine as long as you maintain the license and the original copyright notice.

share|improve this answer
this is the way i understood it as well, although i'm not nerdy enough to read the license :P i did notify the author that i would like to add it to github and he said he would add it himself. i figured it's just common courtesy to notify the author before doing that. – kurtybot Aug 6 '12 at 8:08
It's one of the shortest licenses going, have a read! Good point on notifying the author, I should have mentioned that. – James Aug 6 '12 at 8:11
@James Even if a legal agreement is short, and you can understand the intent, you may still need to consult a lawyer to understand what effect the agreement has in any particular jurisdiction. It may even be completely unenforceable and have no meaning whatsoever. – MarkJ Aug 6 '12 at 16:04
Sure, hence the "I am not a lawyer", but seriously - it's one of the shortest and clearest open source licenses going. If you can't even be bothered to read it how are you going to talk to your lawyer about it? – James Aug 6 '12 at 21:26

MIT license is pretty permissive, most things you want to do with the code should be acceptable (IANAL, though). It would definitely be considered good form to maintain attribution to the original author of the code though, ("Originally written by Freddy Foobar, modifications by Betty Bazquux", for example)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.