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I put my Bachelor thesis on GitHub (both the text and the code itself). Today, my mentor found it via Googling (?) and contacted me about it. He said that he is afraid that DABAR (the Croatian repository of Bachelor theses and Master theses) might make a lawsuit against us because of that. So, he thinks that it would be best to delete the text of my Bachelor thesis from GitHub.

Are my mentor's fears realistic? How likely am I to actually get into a legal trouble because of that? Is that actually illegal, considering that my repository is under the MIT licence? As far as I understand it, it might be illegal if I chose the GPL licence or no licence at all, but it's not illegal if it is under the MIT licence.

Update: At the insistence of my mentor, I did some history rewriting on GitHub and contacted the owner of the forked repo asking him to do the same thing.

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    What is your license/agreement with DABAR? I can't imagine there is any risk of a thesis repository making some claim of ownership of content submitted to them, but it will all depend on what sort of agreement you make when you submit there.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 6, 2023 at 16:53
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    I would start there, then (finding out what license you have with DABAR). I suspect there is no problem at all, but that's how you'll find out. In any case, there is nothing you can do about a version of your software you've already licensed to other people, you can't revoke an MIT license. It doesn't matter how you've licensed your own software to other people (MIT, GPL, whatever), as long as none of them came with a promise of exclusivity: you own the stuff, so you can license it how you want.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 6, 2023 at 16:56
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    Interesting question. I removed the second question -- the answer to the first question will probably make this clear, and we discourage multiple questions per post. Also, please don't provide the names of third parties; we do not need/want to know who forked your repo.
    – cag51
    Oct 6, 2023 at 22:18
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    I'd be really curious to hear a clear explanation from your mentor of what exactly they thought the problem was and what specifically a lawsuit would be about, in terms that would suggest some actual familiarity with the law...
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 7, 2023 at 2:06
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    @BryanKrause The issue might be that "OP's software" is not actually theirs. I know exactly nothing about Croatian law, but I know several other EU countries where copyright for anything produced as an employee is automatically owned by the employer, and some cases where this sort of relationship applies to students as well. For all we know, the copyright to OP's thesis could be owned by the university under Croatian law, and OP would then be infringing by distributing it without the copyright owner's consent.
    – TooTea
    Oct 9, 2023 at 8:03

2 Answers 2

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Are my mentor's fears realistic?

No.

I do not know how to provide legal advice. I can say that lawsuits happen when someone has a reason to sue; your question does not describe any reason.

Usually the reason for a copyright infringement lawsuit is money. It would be a very rare bachelor thesis that is connected to substantial money. Normal people/organizations do not sue just because they love owning a copyright.

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It depends on your jurisdiction and who holds the rights to your thesis. Is that you, you and the university, you and your mentor, or the university alone (all options exist). The repository has an arrangement with university, but you have one with the university too. However as said there should not be a reason for it to go to a lawsuit.

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