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Re: Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 03:04:32PM +0100, Joerg Jaspert wrote:
> 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---

This language is specific to v3 of the GPL.  Works licensed under GPLv2
don't have such a provision; the copyright notice is only required with the
source distribution, not the binary distribution.

So s/Event the GPL tells you to/Only the GPLv3 tells you to/.

The GPLv3 certainly makes an interesting case, because §6 says "You may
convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and
5".  It's not at all clear to me what it means to "convey a work in object
code form" under terms that specifically say "You may convey verbatim copies
of the Program's source code" and "You may convey a work based on the
Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of
source code".

I think that's a bug that was overlooked in the GPLv3 drafting process.  It
would probably be worth asking the FSF for a clarification of intent here,
as well as to get legal advice ourselves, because I actually don't see that
the reading you're giving it, "distribute binaries following the same
requirements outlined in §4", is more naturally correct than "distribute
binaries as allowed by §4".  Or, for that matter, more naturally correct
than "distribute binaries only if they're source".

Also, FWIW, §4 says "appropriate copyright notice", but doesn't define what
this means.  Given that there appears to be some disagreement on what this
means, I think Debian should get legal advice about what the standard needs
to be instead of the ftp team going out on a limb by making their own rules.

> 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.

So it's not up to the Debian maintainer, but it is up to the ftp team?

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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