[License-discuss] BSD 3-clause and copyright notices

Zluty Sysel zluty.sysel at gmail.com
Tue Sep 29 16:13:49 UTC 2015

Hi all,

After conquering many hurdles along the way, it looks like the company
I am a part of is willing to release a good part of the source code we
own as open source software. Before we do that though there are a
couple of outstanding issues that I was hoping someone on this mailing
list could clarify. We want to use a BSD 3-clause and immediately
publish the source code on a public code repository allowing
contributions from users. The questions that have arisen are the

1) Clause 2 requires users that distribute the software in binary form
to reproduce the copyright notice. Since the holder of the copyright
notice is the very same company that makes the source code available
to them, would it be possible to selectively waiver this obligation to
a particular set of users without infringing on the Open Source
definition or the BSD license itself?
If the answer was negative, would including the existence of such a
waiver in the license itself preclude it from being considered an open
source software license?

2) When accepting contributions to the source code repository from
external sources, I have seen that is sometimes customary to include
an additional copyright line to the license text included at the top
of the source file, crediting the person or company that contributed
the new code or file.
Would then the waiver mentioned in question 1) be in violation of the
additional copyright holder(s)' rights?

3) When reproducing the copyright notice in binary distributions, must
one parse all source code files to find out all of the contributors'
names and include them in full? Or is it enough to simply provide a
LICENSE file that only credits the original author (the company that
made the source code available originally) so that users of the source
code can simply reproduce that particular file in their binary

Thank you in advance,


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