I am employed full time developing software. The company I am working for agreed to have the software under a BSD license.

If I leave the company, is there any legal problem if I use the software as I please?

  • You might want to ask your lawyer. That is one you pay for their time. – Trish Jan 18 at 8:08
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    Licenses are applied when software is distributed to a third party - has your company distributed the software yet? Just taking a copy of the software from an internal repo may land you in hot water, so I wouldnt advise it - if there is a public distribution, its best to use that. Does such a thing exist? – Moo Jan 18 at 9:10

Yes, but careful. The BSD license means that if you have a legitimate copy, you can pass it on to anyone under the license. So if your company puts the software on the Internet under the BSD license, then I can download it, you can download it, anyone can download it, and all legal.

But right now you don't have a legitimate copy. Your company has. They can give you a copy, but you can't just take it. If your company A sold the software to company B under the BSD license, then A could give you a copy, B could give you a copy, but you are not allowed to just take it.


Assuming it is BSD-licensed, you can do whatever you want as long as you keep the copyright notice.

The summary from Wikipedia:

Software under BSD license can be used freely. It is allowed to copy, modify and distribute it. The only condition is that the copyright notice of the original program must not be removed. Thus, software under a BSD license is also suitable as a template for commercial (partially proprietary) products.

There are some versions of the BSD (different clauses, see here for a summary) which specify how and whom to acknowledge in the obligatory copyright notice.

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