I am a developer on the ELMAH project and recently I was browsing the stack-exchange-data-explorer project on Google Code. And I noticed too many similarities between SimpleErrorHandler and ELMAH to be a coincidence. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but there is no mention of the Apache license 2.0 which ELMAH is licensed under or attribution given to ELMAH.

As a developer I understand that this more often occurs because of trying to get a job done, than trying to figure out lawyer mumbo-jumbo. And often when creating code, you don't really think about licenses until the end of the project.

However, I feel obligated to mention that SimpleErrorHandler definitly falls under the Derivative Works clause:

"Derivative Works" shall mean any work, whether in Source or Object form, that is based on (or derived from) the Work and for which the editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship. For the purposes of this License, Derivative Works shall not include works that remain separable from, or merely link (or bind by name) to the interfaces of, the Work and Derivative Works thereof.

Obviously both are open source, but the Apache license 2.0 cannot be changed to a MIT license. To redistribute the work that the ELMAH team has done please follow the redistribution clause under the license.

Redistribution. You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, and in Source or Object form, provided that You meet the following conditions:

  1. You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a copy of this License; and

  2. You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You changed the files; and

  3. You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works; and

  4. If the Work includes a "NOTICE" text file as part of its distribution, then any Derivative Works that You distribute must include a readable copy of the attribution notices contained within such NOTICE file, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works, in at least one of the following places: within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the Derivative Works; within the Source form or documentation, if provided along with the Derivative Works; or, within a display generated by the Derivative Works, if and wherever such third-party notices normally appear. The contents of the NOTICE file are for informational purposes only and do not modify the License. You may add Your own attribution notices within Derivative Works that You distribute, alongside or as an addendum to the NOTICE text from the Work, provided that such additional attribution notices cannot be construed as modifying the License. You may add Your own copyright statement to Your modifications and may provide additional or different license terms and conditions for use, reproduction, or distribution of Your modifications, or for any such Derivative Works as a whole, provided Your use, reproduction, and distribution of the Work otherwise complies with the conditions stated in this License.

Knowing how committed to Open Source the StackOverflow team is, I am 100% positive this was an oversight on your part. And I hope we can work together to get the code licensed correctly under the Apache license 2.0.

Since a couple of examples are probably warranted here are a few that I picked out.

1 Answer 1


My mistake, I pulled in code from an internal project and forgot to amend all the licenses and attribution.

I just fixed it: http://code.google.com/p/stack-exchange-data-explorer/source/detail?r=11c4c20e76207f5843ecf61ae2cb3aa0cf1c9558


  • 5
    Thank you Sam, sorry this was in such an open way, I never intended this to be anything more than a heads up support request about this innocent oversight. I know StackOverflow has a long history of committing to the open source community, and we all thank you. Dec 13, 2010 at 23:33
  • 2
    No worries, sorry this happened.
    – waffles
    Dec 13, 2010 at 23:42
  • Derived off? That strikes me as an odd choice of preposition. I'd say derived from (or, perhaps, based on).
    – TRiG
    Sep 12, 2013 at 14:13

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