Re: Copyright and License Guidelines
Jonathan Yu <email@example.com> writes:
> I didn't say complete copyright statements for each contribution,
> however, you have to realize that in the absence of a Contributor
> License Agreement, you legally cannot just take over copyright for
> work that people submit (via patches, etc.)
> This is why it is helpful to have a CLA, regardless of what you or
> Damyan think about it philosophically.
Why would I want to take over copyright? There's absolutely no reason for
me to do so. The only purpose that could serve is if I wanted to
relicense the whole work, which I don't and am never going to do, so
there's no benefit for me to take over copyright ownership of other
people's contributions. IMO, it's just rude.
> Let me digress a little and say: I don't care what copyright license
> statement you give me in your package, so long as there is one, and so
> long as that covers everything in your package.
Well, you can care about whatever you want, but what we're debating here
is a policy for the debian-perl group, and in that policy I don't think
you should be saying that there has to be a copyright statement in a
package. I'm opposed to making that a policy of the group, since I don't
see any reason for Debian to care.
> Legally speaking, if you take some code from somewhere else and include
> it in inc/, then you should be giving copyright/license details for that
> as well (as an upstream person) -- this is legally required per the GPL
> and various other licenses that require attribution, etc.
Legally, what the GPL requires is:
1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
along with the Program.
so if you want to make this argument, you're immediately going to run into
the problem that a substantial number of the Perl modules we're already
packaging and distributing also have no disclaimer of warranty in the
source, because the only licensing statement they have in the source is:
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify
it under the same terms as Perl itself.
The disclaimer of warranty is given equal wait in that sentence with the
copyright notice. Like I said, this is the least of the ways in which
CPAN authors tend to play fast and loose with the terms of the GPL, and
Debian historically has only cared about the issues that have some chance
of actually causing problems for us. For example, almost none of these
modules include a copy of the GPL in their distribution, which is also
required by the GPL.
In practice, this just isn't important. No one cares about this stuff
unless the upstream author demonstrates that they care about it by putting
copyright notices and disclaimers of warranty on their own work, and the
chances of there being any substantial risk is so remote that no one
should care about it.
If it makes you feel any better, you can just conclude that we're
distributing any such Perl modules under the terms of the Artistic
license, which doesn't require any copyright notice, only requires that
you preserve one if it already exists.
1. You may make and give away verbatim copies of the source form of
the Standard Version of this Package without restriction, provided
that you duplicate all of the original copyright notices and
> Anyway, from a packaging point of view, I need at least *a* copyright
> statement from upstream.
No, I don't believe you do.
> Does this mean we can just push AnyEvent and related modules through
> Debian, with the copyright statement "Marc Lehmann, maybe other
> contributors, I don't really know"
Yes, if that's all the information upstream provided.
Russ Allbery (firstname.lastname@example.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>