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I have a project I've been working on which I would like to push into a new, public Github repository as open source. After searching on StackExchange for the right license to use I've settled on the BSD license.

My question is: now what? Do I just need to copy the BSD license text into a file called LICENSE in the root of my repository and call it good? Is that the general rule for how all open source licenses work? Or do I need to notify some other organization that I'm using this license so I can 'enforce' it if necessary?

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This question contains potentially useful similar license information. (Particularly the accepted answer) programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/26761/… –  John Dec 19 '10 at 3:49
    
@John - "shurely some mistook". The question you linked to is about terms of service, not software licenses. –  Stephen C Dec 19 '10 at 7:03
    
@Stephen: The accepted answer is still useful here no? –  John Dec 19 '10 at 17:39
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@John - useful, but not relevant to this question. I could "usefully" tell him about alternatives to github, or that open source is the "spawn of the devil", or that he should brush his teeth every morning. But I don't ... because it is irrelevant to the question asked. –  Stephen C Dec 19 '10 at 22:23
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@gnat: No, this question is about how to apply the license once you have made a choice already. –  Martijn Pieters Apr 14 '13 at 9:30
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

That is sufficient to licence your work but it is normally preferable to add a small comment stating who owns the copyright and where to find the full licence text at the top of each source file.

You do not need to notify any organisation to enforce your licence if someone breaks the terms, although it will require you to take them to court.

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If you have decided on a particular license suits your needs, then putting a License.txt file in a prominent place in the distro should be sufficient. Also, you should make sure that the github metadata for your project, Maven POM files and so on also declare the licensing in the appropriate way.

Or do I need to notify some other organization that I'm using this license so I can 'enforce' it if necessary?

It is not necessary. Enforcement of the license is entirely your responsibility. (Not that there is a lot to enforce .... with a BSD license.)

However, if you were prepared to use a GNU license and assign copyright to the FSF (and your project is worth protecting), they would take care of enforcement of the license.

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