BSD originally stood for "Berkeley Source Distribution". It may stand for something else now. The BSD License was the License agreement that the BSD software (largely, a version of UNIX) was distributed under (and still is as of 2001). <OWNER> below referred to "Regents of the University of California". This is because BSD originally came from the University of California, Berkeley campus. BSD style licenses are moderately popular however, and the template below (and the older version with the advertising clause) are often seen with some other value of <OWNER>.
It is possible for something to be distributed with the BSD License and some other license applying as well. This was in fact the case with very early versions of BSD itself, which included proprietry material from AT&T.
As originally distributed the license had an extra clause, the so called advertising clause:
* 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software * must display the following acknowledgement: * This product includes software developed by the University of * California, Berkeley and its contributors.
This clause offended some people. The GNU project referrs to it as the "obnoxious BSD advertising clause". On July 22, 1999 William Hoskins the director of the office of technology licensing for UCB revoked the clause. The document enacting that revocation is available online: ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change
This is the BSD License template. (More needs to be said)
Copyright (c) <YEAR>, <OWNER> All rights reserved.
Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
Neither the name of the <ORGANIZATION> nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE REGENTS OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.