I work for a group at our educational institution that licenses its software with a license that is verbatim the BSD 3-clause license with one sentence added under the copyright year/holder line. The top of the license reads thus:

Copyright (c) 2018, MyInstitutionName
All rights not granted herein are expressly reserved by MyInstitutionName.

...rest is BSD 3-clause exactly ...

Does this change the license? In particular, does it make it somehow incompatible with the BSD license, or does it still qualify as the BSD 3-clause license?

1 Answer 1


This should not make any difference. It just reaffirms something that is true anyway. Similarly, the phrase “all rights reserved” next to a copyright notice is completely superfluous nowadays.

But since it (probably) makes no difference, yet leads to potential confusion, you might want to inquire why your institution is using this. Was there specific guidance from your legal department? Or did someone add that sentence, and everyone copied it without considering whether it is necessary? I think it would be clearer if this line was deleted.

  • 1
    Checking with other people here, they report it was indeed a recommendation from the institution's technology office. We don't know the underlying rationale.
    – mhucka
    May 15, 2018 at 15:43
  • Ask the technology office to get a lawyer's opinion on the matter (preferrably one versed in Open Source!).
    – vonbrand
    Feb 20, 2020 at 12:35

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