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---
title: Licensing
last_reviewed_on: 2020-03-30
review_in: 6 months
---
# <%= current_page.data.title %>
## Guidelines for repositories containing code
Each repository should include a licence file. This should be called `LICENCE` or `LICENCE.md`. "License" is the US English spelling.
GitHub.com will still show licence details for the British English spelling.
You should specify the licence and link to it in the repository’s README. It’s
typical to include this information at the very end of a README under a
‘Licence’ heading.
### Use MIT
At GDS we use the [MIT License][mit-license].
Make sure the licence content is included in full, including the title "The MIT
License", so that readers are quickly able to see what licence is being used.
### Copyright notice
The Copyright is Crown Copyright; you can put "Government Digital Service" in
brackets.
For example, `Copyright (c) 2019 Crown Copyright (Government Digital Service)`.
The year should be the year the code was first published. Where the code is
continually updated with significant changes, you can show the year as a period
from first to most recent update, for example 2015-2019.
For more information on copyright notices, see the [UK Copyright Service fact
sheet][uk-fact-sheet].
### Example
There is a good example of a licence in the [pay-adminusers][pay-licence] repo.
## Guidelines for repositories that are open documentation
Some repositories will produce websites serving documentation. The GDS Way is
an example of this. In addition to the MIT license for the code in the
repository, you should include the [Open Government Licence (OGL)][ogl-licence]
for the documentation.
### Example
The [GDS Way][gds-way] repo is a good example of licensing open documentation.
[mit-license]: https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT
[uk-fact-sheet]: https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p03_copyright_notices
[pay-licence]: https://github.com/alphagov/pay-adminusers/blob/master/LICENCE
[ogl-licence]: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/
[gds-way]: https://github.com/alphagov/gds-way
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