Re: What criteria does ftpmaster use for the ‘copyright’ file of a package?
Ben Finney <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Steve Langasek <email@example.com> writes:
> > On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 12:39:35PM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> > > 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 am not an ftp master, but I think this follows from a
> > straightforward set of principles:
> Thanks for your response. (I am still very interested to get the
> ftpmasters to join this discussion with their positions.)
> > - Policy requires reproduction of the copyright notices for a work
> > in debian/copyright.
> This point in particular I don't think is clear. It has been argued
> several times in the past that it is the copyright *license* that is
> important, and needs to be reproduced in the package ‘copyright’ file.
Lest it appear that I didn't respond to Steve's point, I'll speak about
the wording in current Debian policy:
12.5. Copyright information
Every package must be accompanied by a verbatim copy of its
copyright and distribution license in the file
`/usr/share/doc/<package>/copyright'. This file must neither be
compressed nor be a symbolic link.
In addition, the copyright file must say where the upstream sources
(if any) were obtained. It should name the original authors […]
So, the “copyright and distribution license” is required in the
‘copyright’ file; we also require “where the upstream sources (if any)
were required”. Nothing about duplicating the copyright notices.
Now, I understand that some people read “copyright and distribution
license” as two separate things; but “a verbatim copy of its copyright”
makes no sense, since copyright isn't a text that can be duplicated. A
package doesn't have “a copyright”, except in the sense of a right that
is held by a person. That's not a text that can be copied verbatim.
The only sensible parsing of that wording, to my understanding, is that
the policy requires a single thing: the package's license of copyright
and distribution. So I see no policy justification for the requirement
of duplicating copyright notices.
\ “When I get new information, I change my position. What, sir, |
`\ do you do with new information?” —John Maynard Keynes |