Redistributions must retain this list of conditions

John Cowan cowan at
Sun Nov 11 18:19:07 UTC 2001

Paul Guyot scripsit:

> You seem to refer to the GPL's section 2 about combined works. It 
> seems to say that A+B would then be released under the GPL, but the 
> mere part A of A+B is still under the BSD.


> The problem is that A+B is a derivative work (in the meaning of the 
> Berne Convention) of A and of B and if you take part A from A+B, it's 
> a derivative work of A+B.

*If* you do that.  But surely one can make use of A itself, with the
looser requirements of the BSD license.

> Now, let's suppose we have this. BSD clauses (you must reproduce this 
> list of conditions) only applies to A when taken from A+B? So if we 
> consider original's BSD advertise section, it means that you only 
> need to meet it if it's an ad about A, not if it's an ad about A+B?

I'm not sure, since that clause is basically obsolete (though the
Apache License still has it).  I think that it applies to all
derivative works, however.

> Wait. What I call Original BSD is BSD as on OSI website with clause 3:
> >3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this 
> >software must display the following acknowledgement:
> >  This product includes software developed by the University of
> >  California, Berkeley and its contributors.

Sorry, yes, by "source" I meant not "source code" but "source of the
software".  I didn't mean to be confusing.

> My question is, what is the difference regarding GPL compatibility with:
> >1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright 
> >notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
> >2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright 
> >notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the 
> >documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
> It clearly requires things which aren't required by the GPL.  

What things?  Clause 1 of the GPL requires maintenance of the copyright
notice, the warranty disclaimer, and (references to) the license itself.
Same requirements.

At a very picky level, you could claim that the BSD requires you to
keep *the BSD* with the code, whereas the GPL requires you to keep
*the GPL* with the code, and that these are technically different
requirements.  But this does not pass what American lawyers call
"the laugh test": if you make it in court, will the judge be able
to keep a straight face?

> Or I could delete the copyright mention "Copyright (c) <YEAR>, 
> <OWNER> All rights reserved." (and the conditions & the disclaimer) 
> from the documentation of my software including BSD-licensed code?

The license need not be provided with the documentation as long as it
is provided with "other materials".  The typical case is to keep it with
the source code and in a separate file.

John Cowan               cowan at
Please leave your values        |       Check your assumptions.  In fact,
   at the front desk.           |          check your assumptions at the door.
     --sign in Paris hotel      |            --Miles Vorkosigan
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