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Re: Licensing question about the BSD

From: Per Abrahamsen
Subject: Re: Licensing question about the BSD
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 12:54:43 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.110003 (No Gnus v0.3) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

Steve <> writes:

>    The license states that "redistributions... with modification" (ie. 
> derived works) have to embed the BSD license terms SOMEWHERE in their 
> materials. 


> Doesn't this mean that derived works are therefore covered 
> by the BSD license (in addition to any other proprietary or open 
> licensing terms the derived work author himself applies)?

Yes, the combined work is covered by all the licenses.  The key is
that even if the BSD license allow you to do something, the other
licenses will have to allow it as well.

> Consider an example.  Some author created an application named "A",
> and licenses it with the BSD.  Another author creates application
> "B", containing some code from "A".  The author of "B" licenses his
> work under the GPL, but includes a copyright notice and the BSD
> terms in his source code to satisfy the terms of "A".  Finally, I
> come along and write application "C", which incorporates code from
> "B".
>       In this example, I would of course be required to license my "C" 
> application under the GPL.  


> Would I ALSO need to embed in my source and docs a copyright notice
> for the author of "A", with the BSD terms and disclaimer?

There have never been any requirement to put the copyright notice for
the software in the documentation.  You have to retain it in the

> Even though the "B" application I derived from was GPL'ed, 
> do I also "inherit" that requirment placed on "B" by "A"?


>       I guess what has me confused is that I've seen tons of projects that 
> incorporate BSD-licensed code, yet do not include long lists of 
> copyright notices in their source and docs.  Does this imply that many 
> people deriving from BSD-licensed works are simply breaking the license 
> agreement, or is there something else I'm missing here?

Both.  If people have removed the original BSD copyright notice, they
are breaking the license.  If people have added code, but not added
their name to the copyright notice, the situation is unclear.  If they
have not in other ways indicated the terms of distribution, they most
likely retain all rights to their code, and redistribution of the code
by a third party is a copyright violation.

Some would say that submitting a patch to a free software project is
an implicit permission to distribute the code under the same
conditions as the rest of the project.  I very much doubt a judge
would agree if it came to court, they tend to take the side of the
copyright holder.

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