Celebrating 20 years of community-led development "The Apache Way"
This document describes how Apache committers and PMC members should handle source file licensing and copyright notices.
It does not apply to developers outside the ASF who are applying the Apache License to their work. The appendix to the Apache License describes how others can apply the license to their work. This page also does not describe requirements for what goes in the standard LICENSE file distributed with each Apache product release, nor what are the acceptable licenses for distribution of third-party components.
Apache products are composed of lots of pieces of code across numerous source files, licensed to the ASF by various authors who maintain ownership of their contributions. When a PMC goes through the process of selecting, coordinating, and arranging all these various contributions into a single product, the collective work is also protected by copyright law and is owned by the ASF -- even though each individual piece of code is still owned by the contributor. An Apache product may also include other components that were not submitted directly to the ASF, but are licensed in such a way that is consistent with the ASF's licensing practices.
Considering all of these factors, this document describes how to: - Label source headers of contributed source, - Treat copyright and licensing of third-party works, and - Use the NOTICE file to collect copyright notices and required attributions.
This document also includes: - Frequently Asked Questions,
which will be updated as new questions come up on the legal-discuss mailing list.
Updates to this page are sent to the legal-discuss mailing list.
Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership. The ASF licenses this file to you under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.
Apache [PRODUCT_NAME] Copyright [XXXX-XXXX] The Apache Software Foundation This product includes software developed at The Apache Software Foundation (http://www.apache.org/).
With few exceptions, all human-readable Apache-developed files that are included within a distribution must include the header text. Documentation, including web site documentation distributed with the release, may include the header text within some form of metadata (such as HTML comments) or as a header or footer appearing in the visible documentation.
A file without any degree of creativity in either its literal elements or its structure is not protected by copyright law; therefore, such a file does not require a license header. If in doubt about the extent of the file's creativity, add the license header to the file.
Other files may make sense to have no license header. Three examples are:
PMCs should use their judgement, err on having a source header and contact legal-discuss@ if unsure.
"Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more contributor license agreements; and to You under the Apache License, Version 2.0. "
Any additional licensing information relevant to the file (ie. that would ordinarily be in the NOTICE) should be noted directly in the file when the short form is used.
PMCs should use their judgement, err on having a full source header and contact legal-discuss@ if unsure.
Yes. Even if there are no source files within the release, the LICENSE file and NOTICE file are still both required within every ASF distribution -- whether the unit of distribution is a .jar, .msi, .tar.gz, .zip, .exe installer, or any other file format used for distributions. For example, Windows .exe files must not be used as a unit of distribution unless they are installers and include the LICENSE and NOTICE files in their installation.
If the media was contributed directly to an ASF project, the contributor has the option to insert their copyright notice in the NOTICE file, as is described for source files. If the media comes from a third-party source (not contributed directly to the project), then any copyright notice that is obviously associated with the media should be copied into the NOTICE file.
License headers allow someone examining the file to know the terms for the work, even when it is distributed without the rest of the distribution. Without a licensing notice, it must be assumed that the author has reserved all rights, including the right to copy, modify, and redistribute.
No. This is strictly an ASF policy. Other projects using the Apache License should still refer to the license's appendix for guidance on applying a header to their source files.