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Re: Bug#218832: ITP: libnettle -- a low-level cryptographic library

[Follows set to debian-legal.]

On Thu, Nov 06, 2003 at 02:22:31PM -0500, John Belmonte wrote:
> If the library as a whole must be under GPL license, how is it 
> significant that parts of it were once under LGPL or on the public 
> domain?  The purpose of the License field is to tell the user what 
> license the software in the package is under, not to give a history of 
> previous or constituent licensing.

I don't think you understand licensing very well.  If more than one
party still holds copyright in an aggregate work, no one party can make
a single license apply to the work "as a whole", as you say.

What do you mean by "once under the LGPL or public domain"?  What
mechanism do you propose causes works to stop being licensed under the
LGPL, or withdrawn from the public domain?  Mere distribution in
compliance with the terms of the GNU GPL is certainly not such a

"Historical" (i.e., inapplicable) licensing is not necessarily something
that needs to be explained in a debian/copyright file, though it might
be of use to people if there are many confused questions on the subject
with respect to a given package.

"Constituent license" is indeed apropos for debian/copyright, as it's
reasonable to expect our users to be bound by those licenses if they
attempt to modify or further distribute the packge in question.

I suggest you scrutinize the licenses in your own packages more closely,
as you appear to have been working from a number of invalid assumptions.

If you have any questions, please consult the debian-legal mailing list
for advice.

G. Branden Robinson                |    When we call others dogmatic, what
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    we really object to is their
branden@debian.org                 |    holding dogmas that are different
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    from our own.     -- Charles Issawi

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