With "license" I am referring to the open source licences such as the Creative commons licence or other open-source software or hardware licenses such as MIT License or GNU License or CERN hardware license.

So let's assume that an organisation or a person has been caught violating the terms of the open source License (let's say creative commons License) then can I sue that person for violating the terms and if these Licenses aren't legally binding , then what's the use of it ?

1 Answer 1


The point of the license is to spell out the terms under which the copyright holder allows others to use, modify and/or distribute the code. Enforcement of the license in the case of free / open-source code is a bit iffy, but generally holds up in court if the terms are reasonable (as is the case in nearly every open-source license).

Only the copyright holder, or someone explicitly authorized by the copyright holder to enforce its rights, can validly sue for infringement of copyright. If you are such a person, then of course you can sue. MIT/BSD/CERN licenses are still licenses, and breach of the license (and with it, usually the only authorization to use the code) almost certainly constitutes copyright infringement.

Unless you own the rights to the code in question, though, you have no standing to sue. If you want to help with enforcement of copyright, contact the person/company listed in the copyright notice. If they don't care, then oh well.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .