I've created a heavily modified and more reusable version of this Qt Quick Scene Graph example. Every source file includes a BSD license. The following lines basically say I have to include the entire copyright notice and list of conditions with the modification distribution:

** "Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
** modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are
** met:
**   * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
**     notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

Is it enough to simply reference the license in every derived source file of mine, or do I really need to include the whole notice in every source file? My modifications are radically different and hardly resemble the original example, yet they were iteratively derived from the original code. I understand this is a trivial example and Digia probably couldn't care less, but I want to do this the right way.


As stated in the license you quoted, you must keep the entire copyright notice, license and disclaimer intact.
It is not sufficient to replace it with a reference.

What you are allowed to do (and really should do) is add your own copyright to the existing copyright notice.

  • Does adding my own copyright mean it has to be appended only to the existing copyright notice? I'm used to just saying something like "// Copyright (C) 2014 Daniel L. Watkins // This file is licensed under the XYZ License." And then just having a LICENSE file in the root directory explaining what the MIT License is to reduce the bloat at the start of every file. Dec 2 '14 at 20:10
  • @DanWatkins: Adding your own copyright means adding the line Copyright 2014 Daniel L. Watkins (or similar variants) below the existing copyright line. Dec 3 '14 at 6:59
  • @DanWatkins: For relatively short licenses (like MIT & BSD), it is better to include the entire license in the file, so it remains clear what license terms apply, even if the file gets separated from the rest of the project. For longer licenses (GPL, Apache) the authors of the license have specified a text that must appear in each file. Those texts have about the same number of words as the MIT license. Dec 3 '14 at 7:03

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