Instead of this:

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2018 Firstname Middlename Lastname

Can I do this:

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2018 F. Middlename Lastname

Are there any legal caveats to this practice?

  • Downvoter please leave a comment so I can fix what is wrong with the question. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 12:37

2 Answers 2


If that is a way that you identify yourself, it is legal to do so. The primary risk is that this form of abbreviation may prevent someone from accurately determining who owns the copyright causing someone with a similar name to receive a windfall.


You are the copyright holder if you wrote the code, no matter how you write your name. Even if you spell the name wrong, you are still the copyright holder.

The only problem is if this could cause confusion about who the copyright holder is. But it is quite unlikely that someone else named "F. Middlename Lastname" would try to steal your copyright (and not one of the gazillion people with different names).

  • It depends upon the name. For most European ethnicities this would be true. But, in Latin America, Korea, China and Vietnam, for example, a very modest number of surnames are shared by the lion's share of people, and even first and middle names aren't necessarily as numerous. If you full name, for example, is Ferdinand Diego Garcia, but you always went by F. Diego Garcia because your uncle was also a Ferdinand, the likelihood that many other people have the same name in high. There are also a fair number of European surnames (e.g. Smith, Miller, Jones) for which this would be true.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 15:08

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