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Re: debian/* license of non-free packages

On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 01:13:29PM +0900, Charles Plessy wrote:
> Le Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 05:35:07AM +0200, Nick Andrik a écrit :
> > 
> > My problem was when I had to specify a license for the debian/* files.
> Hi,
> Not all Debian source packages contain license or copyright notices for the
> files in the debian directory.


> It is therefore not strictly required to specify a license.

I don't see where such conclusion would come from.

> For the packages I maintain, I now refrain from doing so when the contents of
> the debian directory are trivial.

I guess you don't bother to claim copyright for trivial debian/* files.

When there is no copyright and license information for the debian/* files, then
this can mean different things.  It can mean that the Debian package
maintainers find the work so small that they don't bother to claim copyright
and choose a license.  It can mean that they think "obviously everything I do
for Debian is DFSG-free, why would I need to repeat that in every copyright
file".  It can mean that the debian/* files become copyrighted by the upstream
copyright holders, and then the license chosen by upstream applies.  I haven't
seen RC bugs about this so far, although one could argue that it's a policy
violation, even making the package undistributable.  I don't expect Debian to
get legal problems with Debian package maintainers about the copyright of their
work since these Debian package maintainers clearly contributed their work to
Debian meant for free redistribution.  It is in my opinion no big deal but
still better to always mention the copyright and license information for the
debian/* files for completeness and clarity.

Back to Nick Andrik's question : The question is not about whether debian/*
files must always have copyright and license information.  He wants to add this
information.  The question is also not about the license terms of the GPL
license itself.  I'm sure the authors of the GPL meant the GPL to be free for
use by anyone.  Nick Andrik's question is about which license can be used for
the debian/* files for this non-free package, since he got feedback that the
GPL would not be compatible with the non-free license of this upstream
software.  I guess that http://www.debian.org/misc/bsd.license could be used.


Bart Martens

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