I'm writing code that I would like to release under the MIT License. It uses the public API of a library licensed under the BSD 3-clause license. I am not redistributing the library with the source code, and I am not providing binaries, users must install the library themselves and compile from source. Do I need to include the license of the library in my project, effectively overriding the MIT License, even though I am not redistributing source code?

1 Answer 1


The BSD License stipulates (in all versions):

  • Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

  • Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

As such, since you are not providing either the source code directly nor are you compiling it in binary form, you should not need to provide the BSD clause.

The one clause...

  • All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software developed by the organization.

...is a bit of a gray area, but because it discusses specifically advertising material, provided you do not place advertisements publicly without the BSD license, again you should be good to go.

  • The BSD 3-clause license I'm referring to actually has this third clause: "Neither the name of the <ORGANIZATION> nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission." Which I think is even more permissive in this case. Dec 10, 2013 at 16:44
  • Again, they're not endorsing or promoting (you're not saying "Joe says this app is great!"), so you should be good to go. Dec 10, 2013 at 16:47

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