If a software was released under BSD 3 Clause license, how can I rerelease it with my changes under Lgpl-2.1 with Commonsclause?

What are the requirements and my obligations?

More about later, here:


With https://commonsclause.com/


I want to rerelase a Bsd-3-clause project with my modifications as Lgpl-2.1 with Commonsclause to make it open, but prevent users from selling it and making SaaS based on the software?


1 Answer 1


While the Commons Clause is not an Open Source license, the BSD license allows you to do this.

To be clear, you cannot change the license of other people's code. You can however add your own code and license it under whatever terms you want. The resulting code then consists of

  • your modifications, under whatever license you want
  • parts of the original code, under BSD-3-clause

Since you are a license-taker for the BSD-3-clause material, you must still comply with its license such as providing any recipients with the copyright + license notice.

When people receive the software with your modifications, they must comply with both your chosen license terms for your modifications, and with the BSD-3-clause license for the other parts. For example, you can use the Commons Clause to prevent certain competing uses of the software as a whole. But since you will presumably provide the source code of the software, other people are free to use the BSD-3-clause code under the terms of that license, ignoring your restrictions.

If you provide binaries then the resulting binary would not be covered by the BSD-3-clause license, but you would still have to provide the copyright and license notice for the original code as a kind of attribution.

  • 1
    "To be clear, you cannot change the license of other people's code." Without getting the consent of all the other authors, anyway
    – nick012000
    Jan 30, 2022 at 20:06
  • Wondering if I modifed file A how will ppl know what I changed from BSD-3-clause part? They could diff/see changes in the whole project, but there are maaany files? So I just create new License.txt in the whole being Lgpl-2.1 with Commonsclause and keeping Bsd-3-clause info before it?
    – dev
    Jan 31, 2022 at 7:39
  • 1
    @dev You must keep intact any BSD-3-clause license notices and should include the notice in your license file, but you don't have to tell recipients which specific parts are covered by what license. If they want to use the BSD-3-clause material they can likely use the hint that a BSD version exists to hunt down that version online.
    – amon
    Jan 31, 2022 at 19:00

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