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Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

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Somewhat recently there has been significant discussion within the project 
regarding the necessity of documenting copyright attribution in 
debian/copyright.  The FTP team has reviewed the situation and takes the 
following position:

1.  Most licenses require copyright statements to be included.	In the FTP 
team's view, unless a license explicitly states that  copyright attributions 
only apply to source distributions, they apply for source and binary, so must 
be documented in debian/copyright for license compliance reasons.  An example 
of source only requirements can be found in the Apache 2.0 license, paragraph 

      (c) You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works
	      that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and
	      attribution notices from the Source form of the Work,
	      excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of
     	  the Derivative Works; and

The BSD (and similar) licenses are examples of licenses that require copyright 
attribution to be maintained for both source and binaries:

    1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
       notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
    2. 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.

GPL requires an "appropriate copyright notice" for both source and binary 

2.  Additionally, it is currently required by policy:

    2.3 Copyright considerations

    Every package must be accompanied by a verbatim copy of its copyright
    information and distribution license in the file
    /usr/share/doc/package/copyright ...

3.  In a few cases, FTP masters have determined that full copyright 
attribution is both not feasible and, given the nature of the package, that an 
appropriate copyright notice does not need to list all copyright holders and 
allowed packages with an incomplete debian/copyright into the archive.  Such a 
package still violates policy, although the FTP masters believe it to be a 
minor violation.  Just because such a determination has been made about one 
package, does not mean it should apply to another package.  Almost certainly 
the answer to requests for additional exceptions will be no.

4.  The FTP team believes that documenting copyright holders in 
debian/copyright is a good idea.  If policy were modified to make it along the 
lines of SHALL if the license does not explicitly allow it to be left out of 
binary distributions and SHOULD in all other cases, the FTP team believes this 
would be a good change make maintainer's efforts easier when a package license 
allows for it.

Scott K
For the FTP Team
Version: GnuPG v2.0.22 (GNU/Linux)


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