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how (not) to write copyright files

[mail fup to -legal]


when reviewing several NMs' packages I came accross many broken
copyright files in recent weeks.  Upon investigation I found that many
(many!) copyright files in the archive are not really any better.

This is an example on how _NOT_ to do it:

| This package was debianized by....
| Upstream Authors: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck
| Copyright:
| On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License
| can be found in the `/usr/share/common-licenses/GPL' file.

The copyright file in this example lacks some important information:

- who owns the copyright.  This MUST give the year and the copyright
- It does not really say that the software in question is licensed under
  the GPL.
- In the special care of GPL licensed programs it may lose information
  like 'GPL v2 or any later version', if that applies to your package.

A proper copyright file looks like this:

| Authors: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck
| Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 Donald Duck
|           2000, 2002 Daisy Duck
|  This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
|  it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
|  the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
|  (at your option) any later version.
|  This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
|  but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
|  GNU General Public License for more details.
|  You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License with
|  the Debian GNU/Linux distribution in file /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL;
|  if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place,
|  Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA
| On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public
| License, version 2, can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL-2.

Also read Andrew Suffield's mail on what you should do when writing a
copyright file:

Please do check that your packages' copyright files are ok, a large
percentage is not.


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