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Re: Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 01:33:05PM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> writes:

> > If the upstream license doesn't require that we preserve the
> > copyright statement (or if upstream doesn't have them), I'm not sure
> > we need to be requiring that they be collected into
> > debian/copyright.

> I am working from the assumption that we need, at least in principle,
> to maintain an accurate knowledge of the copyright status of the works
> we distribute in Debian. I base that assumption on the necessity of
> that information when evaluating claims (made against the Debian
> project) of copyright infringement in those works.

We have 13,000 packages in the archive.  A trivial subset of these packages
are ever the subject of concerns over copyright infringement.  Why would we
want to do the work up front for all the packages instead of doing it
as-needed for a handful of packages, if this is the only benefit?  Using
this format for debian/copyright is *not* the same thing as auditing the
copyright, it's simply recording what we know about the copyright, which is
essentially "what upstream tells us".  Putting it in a different format
doesn't significantly affect the likelihood of someone claiming their
copyright has been infringed and forcing us to do more research.

This is quite different than having the *license terms* recorded in a
machine-parseable format, which is potentially useful in lots of ways; e.g.,
"license solvers", letting open source-friendly companies get a broad
overview of what they're getting into when they consider deriving, and so

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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