Questions about the two-clause BSD license

Pimm Hogeling pimmhogeling at
Sun Oct 18 21:47:46 UTC 2009

Dag-Erling Smørgrav:
> However, rather than worry about semantic details, why don't you just
> include a copy of the license as a separate file in the distribution?
I, personally, have no problem with that. However, as I want this
library to be as widely spread as possible, I don't want to obligate
the licensees more than I have to.

If I look at the two-clause BSD license really close, I believe it has
more restrictions than I find necessary. Specifically the binary
form-clause could be less restrictive.

The clause states that binary forms must reproduce the copyright
notice, the list of conditions, and the disclaimer. I could imagine
that such an obligation will scare off some people. I'd like to
discuss how much of that clause is actually functional, and what could
be left out, putting less obligations on the licensees.
I'm thinking the disclaimer has to be reproduced to protect the
contributers (against being liable for damage and such.) Could leaving
out that restriction be hazardous to the contributers?
Why the list of conditions has to be reproduced, I'm not sure. What is
the purpose of that restriction?
Finally, in my understanding the copyright notice is only for
attributional reasons. If a project uses my library I will be the
copyright holder over that part of the binary form, whether it
includes a copyright notice saying so or not. Attribution might be
important to contributers, so I wouldn't remove that restriction.
However, in the case of a binary form that is distributed along with
the source code, that restriction is not needed. The first clause
already obligates the user to keep the copyright notice in the source
code. Because of this, in such cases the attribution is already in

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance,

Pimm Hogeling

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