I want to use a portion of an existing project that is licensed under MIT. MIT seems to state that I must include their license in my work, but I don't want to use any license for my own work (i.e. unlicensed). Merely copying their license into my project makes it look like they wrote my entire project instead of just a portion of it.

What is the correct way to integrate someone else's open source license into my project such that I am compliant with the requirements of their license, acknowledging their contribution, but remain able to license my own project a different way, including unlicensing my own work?

  • You can't. Either adhere to their license requirement it don't use their licensed content...
    – user4657
    Aug 28, 2017 at 18:39
  • 4
    "Licensing" doesn't forbid use of software, it allows it. If you are not licensing your code, nobody is allowed to use.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 28, 2017 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


Basically, you cannot do it. You are required to include the MIT license in any derivative work. However, that holds only for the parts that you import from this other project. You can identify which parts of the final product are copied from the MIT-licensed program (and indicate "these parts are subject to the following MIT license"), and then you can do whatever you want with the remainder that you wrote.

The downside of not licensing your material is that nobody can use it. To use it, people would need permission, which is what a license is. If you don't license it, you don't give permission, so people can't use it. You presumably want to subject your own contribution to different licensing conditions, so then you would state those conditions and clearly indicate what parts of the code you wrote.

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