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Am I allowed to lowercase an ALL CAPS section in a license?

Example:

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2015 Andrej Karpathy

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:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.*

I want to lowercase the last paragraph when I redistribute it:

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2015 Andrej Karpathy

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:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

The software is provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and noninfringement. In no event shall the authors or copyright holders be liable for any claim, damages or other liability, whether in an action of contract, tort or otherwise, arising from, out of or in connection with the software or the use or other dealings in the software.*

  • 4
    This is a pretty much a dupe of this Open Source post: opensource.stackexchange.com/q/13/69 If you're asking whether you can, without making a difference, well, the answer is that you can't change it. You're actually changing the licence, and you wouldn't be allowed to call it the "MIT" licence - licences are copyrighted. – Zizouz212 Aug 13 '16 at 16:04
  • @Zizouz212 Thanks! Stack Exchange is really too fragmented :/ and I see that the question you linked to is quite similar to (programmers.stackexchange.com/q/30329/46492). – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 13 '16 at 16:05
  • @NickT Modifying it in anyway. – Zizouz212 Oct 12 '16 at 23:52
  • @Zizouz212 what constitutes "changing" then? If I use smart-quotes instead of bi-directional quotes is it no longer the same? If I change (c) to ©? If I remove the hard-linebreaks within paragraphs? What if the file is encoded with UTF-16 instead of ASCII (what is the original encoding anyways?)? – Nick T Oct 12 '16 at 23:54
  • Ask a question, either here or on Open Source. I don't want to clutter comments. – Zizouz212 Oct 12 '16 at 23:55
5

You need to do something, if you don't like all-caps. This is a response to the requirement to be "conspicuous", as required under UCC 2-316, viz.

to exclude or modify the implied warranty of merchantability or any part of it the language must mention merchantability and in case of a writing must be conspicuous, and to exclude or modify any implied warranty of fitness the exclusion must be by a writing and conspicuous.

YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SHOUT since under UCC 1-201 "conspicuous" means

so written, displayed, or presented that a reasonable person against which it is to operate ought to have noticed it. Whether a term is "conspicuous" or not is a decision for the court. Conspicuous terms include the following: (A) a heading in capitals equal to or greater in size than the surrounding text, or in contrasting type, font, or color to the surrounding text of the same or lesser size; and (B) language in the body of a record or display in larger type than the surrounding text, or in contrasting type, font, or color to the surrounding text of the same size, or set off from surrounding text of the same size by symbols or other marks that call attention to the language

There is a relevant case, American General Finance, Inc. v. Bassett, 285 F.3d 882, which deals with a "clear and conspicious" requirement in another context, which "sees no reason to depart" from the UCC understanding.

  • However, the reason why the majority of conspicuous text is ALWAYS in caps, is because it's nearly impossible to add formatting in plain text files. – Zizouz212 Aug 13 '16 at 17:34
  • Plus, traditionally, all caps was the only realistic option using a typewriter. That is why the caps-lock key was invented. – user6726 Aug 13 '16 at 17:42
  • Wow, I learned something new today. Thank you! :) – Zizouz212 Aug 13 '16 at 17:52
  • The irony being that now most us probably ignore such paragraphs because we assume they say the same thing as all the others. – curiousdannii Feb 4 at 12:49

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