I have a pet project that I am planning to release as open source at some point in the not-too-distant future. A couple of the files use or are mostly code that was taken from a project released under the New BSD License. While I have changed it to fit my needs and added some small stuff, the algorithm and the functionality is basically exactly the same.

I want to make sure that the author of the code gets credit and that the license is not broken, but I also want to make the reader aware that this is not the code as it was orignally released.

How should I approach this? Should I isolate the code as much as possible and just retain the original license? Maybe put all the files that contain foreign code in their own folder and add a readme explaining what has been added/removed?

There must have been tons of projects using other open source code. What is the standard approach to this?

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    I have a similar question. In a project of my own, I will occasionally receive patches - some of which are non-trivial. I always wrestle with how much/little to acknowledge the people who submit them. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


If the files you use have (had) a header stating their origin, keep them. If they don't have, add one. You could also add an AUTHORS file to your project where you list all authors and all projects you took code from. If the code you use has a different license, it might also be good to add an extra license file for that. For instance, if you use source code of the fooBar project, add a file COPYING.fooBar to your project that contains the license of fooBar.

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