Where should I mention other's code in my project's MIT license?



I’m building an Atom plugin and I have been thinking lately about some questions related to the license. I’ve learned a lot with some plugins that were already uploaded as Atom packages. In some cases, some code of them have been used, and in others, I’ve been extremely inspired.

I would like to cite the authors and make very clear that I used their work, as a way to thank them, but I’m not sure about the best way to do it.

I understand that I need to include the license in the root folder of the plugin.

  • Is this the place to add the copyright notice of the other authors specifying which file was made from their code?
  • Is it a good place to indicate that I’ve been based on other’s people ideas and code specifying those?
  • Any example available that shows a license composed by more than one authors?
  • Would you include again some notice inside the files?

Obviously, I’m planning to write more information inside readme.md, but I’m interested on how I should make this in the license.

Thanks a lot for your help,


The license file isn’t meant for credits, and also I think the majority of the people who read the readme won’t read the license file, so I think it’s rather pointless to also put credits in the license file. Just putting them in the readme would suffice. Or maybe you can make a CREDITS.md file.

And I like the idea of putting comments (or something) in the source files to indicate who wrote that piece of code.


I mostly agree with @olmokramer. I put credits or honorable mentions in the README, but if I wanted to do something detailed like what you’re suggesting I would probably do a CREDITS.md or CONTRIBUTORS.md.

As far as putting comments in the code, I’ve found that these kinds of comments rarely get updated and quickly then become inaccurate. And inaccurate comments are worse than no comments at all …


I hadn’t thought about it that way, but that’s a very good point. Definitely a :-1: for comment credits.


Thanks guys, I really appreciate your time.

Ok, pretty clear everything. I will create a special section inside readme.md and include a credits.md. The only thing that still makes me doubt is the following:

The license should go along with the code. If my project incorporates other’s people code, should I add their copyrights into my license.md? Example:

(The MIT License)

Copyright © 2015 My Name
Copyright © 2015 Contributor 1 for X

Copyright © 2015 Contributor N for Z

Thanks again!


That would depend on what the other license says. In any case, copyright statements have been meaningless for many years. Everything is always copyrighted by the author. So they are never required by anyone.


To my knowledge, nobody here is a copyright/patent/software licensing lawyer … so we’re all just giving our best guess based on what we’ve done and (probably) not been sued for. If you’re asking questions about legalities, then you should probably consult a lawyer in the correct field.

If you’re asking about common courtesy, I think you have it covered with what you mentioned in the first place.


Actually the copyright thing is not a guess. It is a fact of law. It doesn’t take a lawyer to know that.


Yes, I’m completely aware of the Berne Convention and its effects on international copyright law. And you are correct that one does not need to assert copyright for it to exist, but there are always finer points that people in this forum are not qualified to dispense advice on. So, I would much rather that people didn’t put themselves forth as experts and we direct people who have questions around the legalities of copyright, patents and software licenses to the actual experts.


@leedohm thanks a lot for the help. The information given here is more than enough to satisfy my needs. Common courtesy was my primary concern and it seems that it would be correctly covered :smile: .


I agree. No one should claim to be experts. But giving advice is also OK if you don’t claim to be an expert. Saying “IANAL” is probably a good thing.

I have a half-dozen patents under my belt and I worked with patent lawyers for more hours than I cared for. I can certainly give free patent advice.


While you may be comfortable with giving inexpert legal advice, Discuss is not the appropriate place for it. Please take the discussion of it elsewhere.