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Re: What criteria does ftpmaster use for the ‘copyright’ file of a package?

On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 12:39:35PM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> [summary: package in NEW was rejected, then accepted; the only
> difference was going from a ‘copyright’ file containing no duplication
> of original-source copyright notices, to one containing copyright
> notices that don't match the original source]

> > It's not the file I have in my packaging VCS, so by default it will be
> > overridden by any future upload; that's probably a matter for [the
> > package sponsor] and me to sort out between us.

> > It also doesn't match the copyright notices as found in the original
> > source; those are rather more complex, and are different across
> > different files. But the *license* terms are correct as stated in the
> > file, as they always have been, since they are unchanged from the
> > original upload of the package.

> > In other words, the only difference between a package that was
> > rejected and a package that was accepted is the addition to the
> > ‘copyright’ file of some copyright notices that don't match the
> > original source.

> > So I don't understand the reasoning for rejecting a package that has
> > the copyright notices intact in the source, but not duplicated into
> > the ‘copyright’ file; and then accepting a package that is identical
> > except for additional copyright notices in ‘copyright’ that don't
> > match the original source.

> > This isn't the first time I've been confounded by ftpmaster policy on
> > this file. Exactly what is it that needs to be in the copyright file
> > for ftpmaster to accept it, and what is the reasoning for that beyond
> > what is in Debian Policy?

> A little time after DebConf excitement has calmed down, I would still
> like to see answers, in the public record, from the ftpmasters on this
> issue.

> I'm well aware of the edicts given, but they don't answer the question
> of what criteria are being used, so we can have a chance of knowing
> beforehand what is acceptable and what is not.

I am not an ftp master, but I think this follows from a straightforward set
of principles:

  - Policy requires reproduction of the copyright notices for a work in
  - It is not the responsibility of the Debian maintainer to correct
    incorrect copyright notices in the upstream source, but it is the
    responsibility of the maintainer to ensure that the copyright notices in
    debian/copyright are correct.
  - It is not the responsibility of the ftp team to audit the copyright
    statements in debian/copyright.
  - Since the copyright notices in debian/copyright may therefore not match
    the notices in the source for legitimate reasons, and nothing short of a
    full copyright audit will reconcile them, the sensible thing for the ftp
    team to do is take debian/copyright at face value.

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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