The MIT license says:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

Bob finds a nice piece of MIT-licensed software called X. However, this software is way too geeky for the general public to use. Practically, only IT-savvy persons can use it.

Bob builds a website allowing any person to use the software by way of a few clicks. The software is not included in the code that is delivered to the user's web browser. Rather, it runs deep in the woods on the server side on-demand. Bob starts charging money for the service.

Is Bob required to include X's copyright notice on the website? Is the website a "copy" or "substantial portion" of software X?

If the answer is "Yes" and Bob ignores it, how much money the copyright holders could potentially win by taking Bob to the court?

Related: Do I need to include the full text of the MIT license in the UI of my app?

  • I think this question and others similar are also answered on opensource.stackexchange.com . You might check there as well for further answers. Questions very similar to this, regarding using various open source software (e.g. MIT) on Web sites have been commonly asked and answered there before.
    – Brandin
    Mar 18, 2022 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


The web site appears to be interacting with a copy of the MIT-licensed code, which I will call "M". Neither the site nor the code that displays the site is a copy, but if a copy of M is on Bob's server, it might be considered to be a part of the code that supports or "powers" the site.

In general, calling a separate program does not make that program part of the calling program.

Bob must make sure that the local copy of M contains the required copyright notice and "as-is" notice. As Bob is "using" and not "distributing" M, that ends his obligations.

It would be good practice and courteous of Bob to include on his web page where M can be invoked "Powered in part by M, written by {M-author}" or some similar notice, but the MIT license does not impose any such requirement. A license could impose such a requirement, but MIT does not.

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