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Re: Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Sat, Mar 21 2009, Joerg Jaspert wrote:

>>>> The real problem here is that FTP masters require the list of copyright
>>>> holders to be up-to-date each time the package goes through NEW.
>>>> Whatever justification exists for this requirement, I???m starting to find
>>>> it unacceptable. If a package has to go through NEW, it takes about
>>>> twice as much time to update this list than to do the actual packaging
>>>> work.
>>>> Why is this list needed? 
>>> Often the license requires it.  For instance the BSD license says,
>>> "Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright".
> Even the GPL tells you to. § 4. Conveying Verbatim Copies (which is then
> mentioned in the source/binary paragraphs):
> --8<------------------------schnipp------------------------->8---
>   You may convey verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you
> receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and
> appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice;
> keep intact all notices stating that this License and any
> non-permissive terms added in accord with section 7 apply to the code;
> keep intact all notices of the absence of any warranty; and give all
> recipients a copy of this License along with the Program.
> --8<------------------------schnapp------------------------->8---

        In each copy of the source code we have the license notices
 already, without it ever being in debian/copyright.

        The verbatim copy of the programs source code have the copyright
 notice, so we meet that. Breinging that into this discussion is a red
 herring, and derails discussion on what is required in  debian/copyright;
 nothing in the GPL ever requires a debian/copyright file at all.

        Trust me. Lots of people in the world distribute programs, and
 they often do not have debian/copyright files.  Copyright law is not
 just valid if you are a Debian derivative.

>>> To me, it seems like since one has to go through all of the source files
>>> anyway, creating a list of copyright holders while you are doing it is a
>>> trivial task.  I don't see why making this list takes any time at all
>>> really.  Unless you are not actually looking at the code you upload,
>>> which would worry me for other reasons as well.
>>         I think it means what is says. The *ABOVE* copyright notice must
>>  be reproduced. That does not mean you have to hunt down every person
>>  with a Signed-Off-By header in the log, or every person who made an
>>  more than 10 line (non-trivial) patch submission to the project (and
>>  yes, most of these people also hold copyright -- how are you gonna find
>>  out all such names?)
> No. It is not up to the Debian maintainer to decide that some
> contributor has written enough of the code to also be mentioned in the
> (C) lines in a particular file. But as soon as upstream lists them
> either in a file header or the AUTHORS file the Debian maintainer has to
> copy that information into debian/copyright.

        Why do they have to? I know, the ftp team made it up. But there
 is no reason in policy or in copyright law for such copying to
 occur. But it would be nice to know why it is needed.

        Now, it might be perfectly fine for the ftp team to impose such
 restrictions on packages, and create their own policy; but please at
 least say so, and do not hide being hand waving of either copyright law
 requiring it (it does not) or Debian policy saying so (which it does
 not either).

>>         Frankly, at this point, I am not seeing a need to track down or
>>  verify the completeness of my list of copyright holders, since it is
>>  almost impossible to do so, or very time consuming, and I see limited
>>  returns for time invested.
> We do not require people to wade through $VCS commit logs or mailinglist
> threads to find out who wrote each single line of code.
> We require, and have seen nothing to convince us otherwise, that Debian
> maintainers need to do the basic work of listing each copyright holder in
> debian/copyright, as seen in the source files and AUTHORS list or
> equivalent (if any).

        Why do you think this work is needed? You must have had some
 rationale, since you made up this policy.

Hempstone's Question: If you have to travel on the Titanic, why not go
first class?
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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