Until recently, open source development community site GitHub did not have licenses for the majority of its hosted projects. The lack of license made the programs subject to copyright protection with all rights reserved exclusively for the author, prohibiting the site from being truly open source.
The matter was first identified in late 2012 by Simon Phipps, director of the Open Source Initiative. GitHub's executives subsequently implemented new rules to encourage developers to use proper open source licenses.
For example, a section in the new Terms of Service states, "By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and fork your repositories." When users launch a new project with the Git distributed version control system (VCS) file repository, they now are given a choice to add an open source license to their project.
GitHub also has developed a site called ChooseALicense to guide users on whether to select the Apache License, MIT License, or GPLv3 license. However, analysts note that users seeking to commercialize their project will require more legal guidance than provided by the site.
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