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Re: making debian/copyright machine-interpretable

On Sat, Aug 04, 2007, Russ Allbery wrote:

> It overall seems reasonable to me, although it surfaces other issues that
> we've been somewhat ignoring.  For example, with a format for clearly
> expressing copyrights that vary per file, it raises the question if we
> should be noting such things.  Most packages that use Autoconf and friends
> have files in the distribution (the generated configure and the like)
> covered by a different license and copyright than the rest of the
> distribution, and for the most part people are not noting this in
> debian/copyright.
> I'd like to see a field added to explain any repackaging of the upstream
> source that was done, or an explicit statement that this should go into
> the second and subsequent lines of the Source field, since I think
> debian/copyright is the appropriate location for such information.

   This is an issue I've been rather happy to ignore so far, because
it's really a lot of work for files that no one will probably ever look

   However, if it must really be noted which files were changed and
how, I am not sure a new field needs to be added. Actually I think the
information fits nicely in the licensing terms without changing the

Files: Makefile.in autotools/* configure
Copyright: (c) 1992-2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
           (c) 200X The Upstream Author
	   (c) 200Y The Debian Maintainer
License: $LicenseOfUpstreamSoftware, other-BSD
 These files were regenerated from The Upstream Author's Makefile.am
 and configure.ac by The Debian Maintainer using autoconf 2.61 and
 automake 1.9.
 The Free Software Foundation gives unlimited permission to copy,
 distribute and modify the resulting files.

   It is probably questionable whether the Debian maintainer is entitled
to a copyright on these files, but it is sometimes so difficult to
rebootstrap a source tree that I wouldn't be surprised one would argue
so. Anyway, it could also be removed.


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