Subject: RE: question about copying small amounts of code from BSD, MIT o r Apache 1.1 licensed open source...
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 18:20:45 -0800


I posted a similar question in the past and received a pretty good set
of responses.  You may want to check the archives.  This topic still
fascinates me because, although nobody would claim that so-called
academic licenses like the BSD license contain a reciprocal licensing
obligation, in practice they may.  If you comply with the terms of the
BSD license in this kind of situation, it can be difficult to
communicate to downstream licensees which code is actually licensed
under the BSD license and which code isn't, thereby making at least the
surrounding code (probably the entire file) subject to the BSD license.
At least that's my take.  I'm sure I'll get responses to the effect of,
"oh no, you just put in a box, made out of commented dashes that
delineates the covered code snippet."  But I'm not sure it's that easy.

In the end, this is just an artifact of the self-licensing feature of
open source code.  It's a brave new world.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roddixon []
> Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 5:12 PM
> To: Thorsten Glaser;
> Subject: Re: question about copying small amounts of code from BSD,
MIT or
> Apache 1.1 licensed open source...
> This response assumes facts about the code snippet and the poster's
> software we don't know. If those assumptions about the code copied and
> new program created happen to be correct (Big IF), then the derivative
> work, if publicly distributed, would be subject to the rather
> unrestrictive
> BSD license.
> - Rod
> ------------
> Rod Dixon
> ...... Original Message .......
> On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 00:46:17 +0000 Thorsten Glaser <>
> >Pete Eakle dixit:
> >
> >>if I am looking for examples of how a certain API is invoked, and I
> >>find a good example within a method of some open source with a
> >>permissive license, such as BSD, can I copy those few lines of code
> >>into my program without having to also add the BSD copyright
> >>to my program?
> >
> >No.
> >
> >You're effectively creating a derived work of both your old programme
> >and the BSD licenced code, thus the derivate has to fulfil *both*
> >licences, and list both.
> >
> >bye,
> >//mirabile
> >
> >