GitHub Finally Takes Open Source Licenses Seriously

Simon Phipps | InfoWorld | July 15, 2013

The Internet's favorite source code host responds to criticism that it's failing its users over licensing

Last November, I wrote about the huge contradiction embodied in GitHub. Though the site is self-described as the "world's largest open source community," a significant number of GitHub projects come with no rights whatsoever for you to use their code in an open source project. That's because so many don't include an OSI-approved open source license.

According to copyright law, that means you have no rights to use the code for any purpose -- in other words, "all rights reserved." The GitHub Terms of Service offer limited rights in section F.1 to view and potentially "fork" repositories that are made public, but otherwise you have no rights to use the code you see or fork for any purpose, without an open source license.