I have gotten permission from my employer to publish a project of mine as open source, but I have the opposite problem from this question—my employer doesn't want their name associated with the open-source project.

I'm happy to do that, of course, but I want to get the legalities straight. The copyright belongs to them, so if I were to be honest in my copyright statements, I'd have to put their name.

The support for this effort is tepid at best, so I don't want to scare them off. The options as I see them are:

  • Get written permission, but don't put a copyright statement. Someday someone might ask me who owns the copyright, and I'd have to tell them the company's name.
  • Transfer the copyright to me and give an irrevocable license back that says they can continue to do whatever they want. I like this, but I'm not sure they'll go for it.
  • Split the copyright, so that my copy is mine and their copy is theirs. I think they'd go for it, but I have no idea if it's legally possible.

What should I do?

  • 1
    "Someday someone might ask me who owns the copyright, and I'd have to tell them the company's name." - Who says you need to answer that question?
    – D M
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 2:58
  • 1
    I would think people or companies might not be willing to invest in an open-source project if it's unclear whether I really have the rights to the project. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 4:52
  • You absolutely have the right not to tell anyone who the copyright owner is. That makes it hard for someone to ask the copyright owner for permission say to make more copies or different rights, but that's their problem. If your project has an open source license granted by the copyright owner, then everything is legally fine.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


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