I have a client-side Javascript framework that is publicly available and BSD licensed. Each file says it is copyright me, the date, all rights reserved, and the BSD license text.

I am making a project which uses - and adapts and makes code changes to - my BSD licensed framework. Although obviously browsers will download and execute this code, I don't want to BSD license my derived project. I don't object to people seeing my code, but I don't want them to cut-n-paste and make derivatives of my project.

What boilerplate text do I put at the top of each file?

I would like to include a link to my BSD-licensed framework too. How should I phrase that?

2 Answers 2


"All rights reserved"

Advertisements can come in the flavor of "if you enjoyed this work or want BSD-licensed version, go see LINK".

And remember, you can't strip the BSD license unless you own all of it. If you took BSD code, made changes to it, then you don't have the right to dual license it. You'd need to get the permission from every author who contributed to it.


There are two kinds of code here: Your code, and someone else's code.

The code that YOU wrote is yours. You can mark it any way you want.

The code that someone ELSE wrote, that you included in your project, is NOT yours. This includes code that you modified, as opposed to originated. You got that code under the terms of their license, presumably BSD, and you are required by law to continue to observe the terms of their license.

Among other things, that means that you can't change the copyright notice and license on their code.

Having said all that, here's the ground reality. There exist scumbags. The scumbags will grab your code, regardless of your notices, remove the notices, file off the serial numbers, and do what they want. When and if you discover what one scumbag did, you will have the opportunity to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars going after him. While you are going after him, fifty other scumbags will be doing the same thing.

If you choose to work in an arena in which you must distribute source code, you accept that you are going to have to deal with scumbags who will ignore the law and copy your code. Client-side Javascript is inherently such an arena. If you don't want to deal with scumbags copying your code for their profit, you need to work in an arena in which you don't have to distribute source code. Deal with it.

  • Yeah, that's pretty much how it is. The only people that you can sue are a small slice of people that have enough money to justify taking it away from them, but not enough money to afford miring you in endless lawyers. It's a bit of a mess.
    – Philip
    Jul 29, 2013 at 14:43

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