Re: MaintainerDatabase Copyright
I've been lurking on this thread for a while and feel that some things
need to be made clear.
I am not a lawyer either (something I hope has already been clear) but
every lawyer I have heard speak on the issue of copyright asserts that
when no copyright is explicitly declared, the most restrictive copyright
is assumed. Only the copyright holder can "license" the use of copyright
For those who don't agree with what has been said so far, I would say
that, in any case, "The material submitted by me to the 'Maintainer
Database Project' is copyright 1997 by Dale Scheetz". If I checked the GPL
option on the form (and I honestly don't remember which I chose), then it
was I who declared how the material was to be licensed.
Licenses are about distribution and use. Copyright is about ownership.
While this state of affairs makes a "General License Agreement" for the
collection of this material a non-trivial problem, the very fact that the
information request form asked the authors to destiguish the form of
distribution license they would allow declares who has ultimate "control"
over the information contained in the database, and it isn't Manoj (or any
other package maintainer who does this work).
WRT, the GPL and it's use here. This document _is_ a license agreement.
While it is generally used to protect the free distribution of software,
it is general enough in its terms to be used for more than just
documentation of that software (which is clearly covered in the GPL). It
is also my understanding that the GPL allows for "unmodified" source, (at
least the DFSG certainly does) as long as any modifications are allowed as
While I see no reason for downstream users to "modify" the data in this
collection, I see no reason to restrict it, beyond requiring original
Given the above discussion as a "place to work", it seems to me that the
problem resolves itself into "How do we license a set of copyright
material when each copyright may have a different individual license?"
It seems to me that the only entries that could appear in a "GPLed
package" would be those entries provided by copyright holders (read
maintainers) who agreed to the GPL for their individual entry. I don't
know where the other entries can be stored or used. That would be up to
those who hold the copyright on those entries.
Some possible solutions:
I don't know how a DBM would handle the problem, but it seems clear that
we need PGP signed entries for the data base (as a minimum). This is the
only way that folks will have any guarantee that the data is correct in
any given copy of the database. Perhaps those folks who wish their data
held in confidence could privide it encoded with their private key ;-) for
inclusion in the database.
In any case, the database will probably be bifurcated between those who
are willing to have "public" listings and those who want more privacy. I
don't really see how the "private" section of the database can ever be
aka Dale Scheetz Phone: 1 (904) 656-9769
Flexible Software 11000 McCrackin Road
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tallahassee, FL 32308
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