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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?

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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? – Peter Rowell Dec 11 '12 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... – Benjamin Dec 11 '12 at 18:20
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. – Peter Rowell Dec 11 '12 at 19:01
up vote 3 down vote accepted

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.

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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? – Benjamin Dec 11 '12 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? – Benjamin Dec 11 '12 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. – Dirk Holsopple Dec 12 '12 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? – Benjamin Dec 12 '12 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. – Dirk Holsopple Dec 12 '12 at 17:37

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