A project I'm maintaining is currently licensed under BSD-2-Clause-Views. I want to change it to the more widely used BSD-2-Clause.


What made me think about this at all is https://github.com/github/choosealicense.com/issues/136, which mentions that this license is specific to Free BSD software. The current license mentions the FreeBSD project explicitly.

The views and conclusions contained in the software and documentation are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing official policies, either expressed or implied, of the FreeBSD Project.

The project is in no way associated with FreeBSD. Is it fine to remove this notice without contacting previous contributors?

  • This clause seems to be a disclaimer that intends to protect only the FreeBSD Project. If your project is unrelated to the FreeBSD Project, then there is no damage for anyone in the proposed license change (no impact on any current or previous authors/contributors). Oct 20, 2022 at 14:00

2 Answers 2


In general, you need permission from previous contributors to relicense. In this specific case however, there is potentially a "loophole" where one could interpret the requirements for redistribution to include "the following disclaimer" to only refer to the next paragraph in all caps and understand it as singular, in which case one would conclude that the two licenses you mention are the same license, and therefore no relicensing is required.


It is perfectly OK to take content given to you under BSD2-Views and distribute it under BSD2. While you have no power to relieve the conditions of the copyright licence chosen by upstream contributors, BSD2 contains exactly the same conditions. The additional sentence in BSD2-Views isn't a condition of the licence, it's merely a reminder not to do something that people should already know not to do, and it may safely be dispensed with.

  • 1
    However, a condition of the license is that the entire notice is retained verbatim in the source code, and provided along binary forms. While OP can certainly provide own modifications under a more mainstream license, they cannot remove that clause.
    – amon
    Oct 24, 2022 at 9:20
  • 1
    It's actually ambiguous. The text that must be kept is the copyright notice, the 2 conditions, and "the following disclaimer", and disclaimer is singular, so one could argue that the views sentence is indeed not part of the text that needs to be kept since it is not part of the same disclaimer as the capitalized paragraph.
    – Max Xiong
    Oct 24, 2022 at 10:08
  • The text must be reproduced, but there is no requirement that it must solely and completely represent the copyright licensing arrangements of the derived work. See eg GPLv3 s4, which distinguishes between these two requirements, and this answer, for more details.
    – MadHatter
    Oct 24, 2022 at 14:33
  • Maybe this is correct, but I'm wondering what is the added value or purpose of following "it may safely be dispensed with." - The sentence may or may not be part of the part that must be reproduced (it's a matter of interpretation, it seems), but there seems to be zero advantage of not reproducing it. So in doubt, I would say just reproduce it as well, unless there's some big problem in doing so that I'm not seeing here.
    – Brandin
    Nov 29, 2022 at 4:55

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