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Many projects on Github comprise a LICENSE file, usually looking like:

Copyright (C) 2012-2013 Mr. Creator

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

...etc...

My problems are:

  1. If I create a project, should I add the name of every single contributor in LICENSE?
  2. If I fork other's project, should I add my name in its LICENSE?
  3. What if I add some files under another license?
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1 Answer 1

  1. If I create a project, should I add the name of every single contributor in LICENSE?

You should add name of every copyright holder. Trivial changes cannot be copyrighted, so that makes it only the significant contributors.

I am used to slightly more complex layout though. File COPYING gives the license text and file AUTHORS gives the list of copyright holders. And the commit history would be more relevant in case of actual dispute about who is copyright holder anyway.

  1. If I fork other's project, should I add my name in its LICENSE?

When you do some non-trivial changes yes. Or to whatever place they list copyright holders in (e.g. AUTHORS)

  1. What if I add some files under another license?

Than you need to create a more complicated structure. Often than LICENSE lists which part is under which license, COPYING.license (COPYING.GPL, COPYING.MIT etc.) give the relevant license texts and AUTHORS lists the authors.

Each file still needs to list at least original author and which license applies to it.

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