I am going to create open-source project for Linux, and i would like to ask you, how is it with licenses and law.

For example i will make a project with GPL license and:

  1. Must i have company, or can i make it as individual?
  2. Must i have sign any agreement with/out lawyer?
  3. Is it enough to post my project into github with source code and just write that is GPL license?
  4. And is 3. is true that let's say that some man (bad man) make open-source with GPL license and if project will be successful that he just change license or close github repository. Is possible to sue that man?

Thank you

  • 3
    I think what you have here is too broad. You should research each one of these topics separately and then ask specific questions if any remain: gpl, open-source-software, contract-law. You might also read up on Open Source.
    – feetwet
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


You don't need a lawyer or a company, but you need to know what you are doing.

About posting on GitHub: You need to check carefully the terms and conditions of the GitHub website. It may be that by posting on GitHub you give people rights that you don't want to give them.

If you publish under a GPL license, you need to decide which version of the license to use, and read the license carefully. Each license version describes quite well how you should go about publishing under that license version. I believe you must include a copy of the license within your source code, but you should check that yourself. The different license version give users more or fewer rights, which may make a version more or less attractive for you and for users, so pick the version that is best for your purposes.

If anyone copies code for which you have the copyright, without having a license, then you can absolutely sue them and ask them to stop making copies and/or pay actual damages (money that you prove you lost) or statutory damages (amounts of money set by the law as punishments).

  • By copyright you mean that i have to have signed agreement? Or is enough for example create license.txt and write into that file, what is allowed and what is not?
    – tomsk
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 22:02
  • 1
    You have copyright in any creative work you make. No further action required.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 22:15

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