This is my first question in this forum so please accept my apology if I did not comply with the expected rules. I am starting as a developper and I am interested in using the code proposed by Tim Hall in VBA-JSON v2.3.1 that I found at "https://github.com/VBA-tools/VBA-JSON".

I went through the MIT Licence information and that seems to be fine even if I package this code in a product that I later sell. However, when I look at the notice in the code I found that there is another licence in it (Based originally on vba-json (with extensive changes)) and after reading (https://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause) it seems all fine; however there is no mention of the terms "All right reserved". But in the code of the ".bas" file before the notice from the BSD-3-Clause there is this mention:

Copyright (c) 2013, Ryo Yokoyama All rights reserved.

In this context, what does "All rights reserved" means? Do I have the right to include this library into another product, and sell it, if I respect the clause of the BSD 3 Clause or do I need I need to get an express authorization from Ryo Yokoyama?

I read several articles from this forum discussing the issue around the term "All right reserved" but I am still confused. Thanks in advance for your help.

  • 1
    This is probably answered by opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/2121/…
    – apsillers
    Jan 20, 2021 at 17:36
  • I am sorry but even after reading all the answer present in the thread you mention I am not sure... if you read one of the last sentences of the last answer "All rights reserved is a historic relic that is not relevant today for establishing copyright (the ownership part). In terms of licensing, it is detrimental to modern software licensing. The phrase has very specific, absolute meaning in the English language and can open up ambiguity in software licensing if it contradicts the rest of a license."... From your point of view do you think it contradict the licence?
    – iPkX101
    Jan 20, 2021 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


As apsillers has pointed out, we already have a lengthy discussion of the history and function of the All rights reserved label over in this question. However, you say you've read that, and remain unclear.

The effect (as I see it) of saying (c) Fred Bloggs 2021 All rights reserved in a piece of code which is accompanied by (say) an MIT licence declaration is to comprehensively muddy the waters. It is much like giving someone a piece of cake with a leaflet that explains how the cake is a gift for them to use as they'd wish, whilst simultaneously saying "this is my cake, you must not do anything with it". You would be confused in such a scenario, I guess - and that's probably why you're confused here.

I think in practice you're safe to use this code. Firstly, the github code is already a derivative of the original seven-year-old google code; if the original author (Ryo Yokoyama) was going to get annoyed about it, (s)he would probably already have done so. Secondly, the original google code was clearly published under 3BSD, so if the original author decided to kick up a fuss, you would have an excellent defence based on the clear licensing.

But if you want to be absolutely super-duper 100% sure, then yes, you will need to get in touch with Ryo Yokoyama and ask him/her for permission to remove the All rights reserved from his/her code. Or find some other, less-ambiguously-licensed code to use.

  • Thank you very much for your input. Your experience provide a much better view of the situation. I thought it was not clear and I was wondering if I was wrong. So it is not clear cut, that's unfortunate... I guess I will have to think about it. Thank you again for the quick answer.
    – iPkX101
    Jan 25, 2021 at 19:27
  • @iPkX101 you're welcome. Note that local etiquette is that you accept an answer to your question when you're happy with one, by clicking the tick outline next to it, to signal that the question has been put to bed (as it were) and no further answers are required. I apologise if you already know this.
    – MadHatter
    Jan 26, 2021 at 6:57

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