I'm in the process of writing a library in PHP, based on a Java package that comes with a BSD license.

The code will obviously not be the same as the original, but most class/method names, and the in-line documentation, will be the same.

Is a link the original Java library in the code documentation enough?

Can I then release my code with an MIT license?

  • Not a bad question. BSD pretty much says, "Leave the notice, have fun." MIT is not too different. Out of curiosity, what are the aspects of MIT that you want that aren't covered by BSD? Dec 11, 2012 at 18:13
  • I'm not sure actually, I would choose MIT because many modern PHP projects are doing so, but I have to admit that I'm a bit lost in the licensing issues...
    – BenMorel
    Dec 11, 2012 at 18:20
  • 2
    Wikipedia has a comparison. Seems like a wash to me. I would note, though, that the license chosen by the original author should be honored. Dec 11, 2012 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


You will have to include the original copyright notice (assuming that your code is close enough to be considered a derivative work), but you are allowed to append your own copyright notice using the MIT license. However, the terms of the two licenses are nearly identical; it might be easier just to leave it under a BSD license.

  • Thanks, do you think that the copyright notice has to appear in every source file then? Or just as a separate text file at the root of the library?
    – BenMorel
    Dec 11, 2012 at 21:51
  • And if I decided to release it as BSD, do I need to append a link to the original source, and/or the original author names, to my BSD license?
    – BenMorel
    Dec 11, 2012 at 21:54
  • Just include the license however the original authors did it. Pretty much the only requirement of the BSD license is that you leave the copyright notice intact, so obviously, the original authors names must be included. A link to the original source isn't required, but it can't hurt. Dec 12, 2012 at 13:13
  • But if I must leave it intact, that would mean that I could not add my own notice to the copyright then?
    – BenMorel
    Dec 12, 2012 at 15:24
  • The exact phrasing is "Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer." So adding your own "Copyright (c) <year>, <name>" line after theirs is allowed. Dec 12, 2012 at 17:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.