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Date:      Tue, 26 May 2015 22:17:42 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        =?UTF-8?B?zprPjs+Dz4TOsc+CIM6RLg==?= <>
Cc:        "" <>
Subject:   Re: About the FreeBSD license
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Tue, 26 May 2015 10:17:51 -0400, Κώστας Α. wrote:
> One of the restrictions of the FreeBSD license is that one
> cannot claim foreign code as his own.

This is a common property of copyrighted code. Note that the
(quite liberal) FreeBSD license does _not_ give up copyright
on the licensed code.

There may be (custom) licenses that allow you to take someone
else's code, add your own copyright header, and (without getting
into trouble) claim that it's _your_ code. The FreeBSD source
code contains copyright information and license terms that do
not state so.

> However, couldn't one misuse the license by making just enough
> changes to a previously open source project so as to make it
> indistinguishable from the original, then publishing it as
> proprietary and not crediting the original authors? Doesn't
> that break said restriction?

The license explicitely allows (!) you to make changes to the
code. This is not a violation of license terms. And of course
you are the copyright holder of the changes. You may license
your changes in any way you want - use the FreeBSD license,
use a different license (CDDL, GPL etc.) or write your own.
However, this does _not_ affect the initial copyrighted code.

Distribution in _binary_ form is a very special case. The
license allows you to distribute modified source, and you
don't even have to disclose the fact that the "bowels" of
your project contain FreeBSD code. In fact, it's quite possible
that many manufacturers are using BSD-licensed code in their
software or appliances without telling the customer so, and
of course without offering the source code of their (now
proprietary) products.

As you will see, additions (which means changes) to the
FreeBSD code does not change the license of said code. You
are not allowed to remove the copyright information and the
license text from the source files, run a few identifier
substitutions, then add your own copyright header and claim
it is your code.

Fun fact: You _can_ copyright empty files and "Hello World!".
You need to be a big corporation to do so, but... ;-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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