[License-discuss] Fwd: Should fork a project on github be seen as distribution of origin project?

Alex Rousskov rousskov at measurement-factory.com
Wed Aug 3 13:16:00 UTC 2022

On 8/2/22 07:33, なつよるほたる wrote:

> I found an interesting project protected by Apache-2.0 in github. Now I 
> want to modify some functions and some new features to develop a new 
> software based on the original project. Naturally I want to fork it and 
> start my coding, but there is a confusing thing, should I fulfill the 
> obligation of *Redistribute with  Modification, *especially the 2.nd 
> term, changelog related.

You must honor licensing terms. However, the terms do not _require_ you 
to waste your (and others) time on polluting every modified source file 
with an ever-growing list of humans and bots that have touched it. The 
lawyers should not have relied on an overly specific term "file" in a 
general-purpose software license, but they gave us enough wiggle room to 
work around their shortcomings.

For example, IMO, the "prominent notice" may come in a form of "See the 
NOTICE file for details about this software modifications." text 
included in the beginning of every file (and the corresponding NOTICE 
file where you do record your name). This works especially well if you 
distribute your software via a version-control system that publishes 
every modification as metadata (e.g., GitHub).



>  1. You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a
>     copy of this License; and
>  2. _You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices
>     stating that You changed the files; and_
>  3. You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You
>     distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution
>     notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices
>     that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works; and
>  4. If the Work includes a "NOTICE" text file as part of its
>     distribution, then any Derivative Works that You distribute must
>     include a readable copy of the attribution notices contained within
>     such NOTICE file, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any
>     part of the Derivative Works, in at least one of the following
>     places: within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the
>     Derivative Works; within the Source form or documentation, if
>     provided along with the Derivative Works; or, within a display
>     generated by the Derivative Works, if and wherever such third-party
>     notices normally appear. The contents of the NOTICE file are for
>     informational purposes only and do not modify the License. You may
>     add Your own attribution notices within Derivative Works that You
>     distribute, alongside or as an addendum to the NOTICE text from the
>     Work, provided that such additional attribution notices cannot be
>     construed as modifying the License.
> Best regards,
> Aaron

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