I wonder whether Open Source libraries used within firmware burnt (in flash or ROM) in an IC that is sold to customers building products with it requires the final manufacturer to give credits (attribution) to the OSS project.

Perhaps this is better described with an example:

IC Manufacturer A builds a new chip that contains an Open Source SPI library licensed under the 3-clause BSD license. Manufacturer A credits the OSS project on its webpage.

Product Manufacturer B buys a reel of those chips and manufactures a new toy that contains the chip on the motherboard.

Is Manufacturer B also obliged to credit the OSS project, even though it only indirectly redistributed the SPI library in binary form?

2 Answers 2


I believe they have to credit the SPI library somehow. It's not too onerous, anyway, to place a link on their webpage.

  • 1
    thanks. any idea on where/how I could confirm this?
    – introiboad
    Feb 5, 2016 at 15:06

Yes, you must attribute the BSD code. From BSD:

  1. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, (...)

Firmware contains the binary form. The license doesn't care if it is burnt (firmware or CD-ROM), flip magnetic material (on floppy disks), or just electrical/optical signal (network), or just publish the code in a book (very seldom now to distribute binaries in such manner).

  • yes except that in this case there's already Manufacturer A attributing it. Is it necessary that Manufacturer B does it too?
    – introiboad
    Feb 12, 2016 at 15:58

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