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Re: Yearless copyrights: what do people think?

Quoting Peter Pentchev (2023-02-22 10:49:30)
> So I've seen this idea floating around in the past couple of years
> (and in some places even earlier), but I started doing it for
> the couple of pieces of software that I am upstream for after reading
> Daniel Stenberg's blog entry:
>   https://daniel.haxx.se/blog/2023/01/08/copyright-without-years/
> And then, a couple of weeks ago, I quietly checked whether
> the Debian FTP team would be okay with that by uploading two NEW
> packages without any years mentioned in the debian/copyright file:
> either upstream or for my Debian packaging. And, lo and behold,
> they were both accepted (python-parse-stages and python-test-stages).
> So how do people feel about this in general, would it be okay for
> me to start doing it:
> a) for other packages that I maintain personally, outside any team
> b) for team-maintained packages (I guess this one might be a per-team
>    decision, discussed separately on the appropriate lists)
> (obviously, I'm not asking for permission or anything; apparently
>  at least one member of the FTP team is okay with me doing it at
>  least for some packages. This is more of a "float the idea, see
>  what people think about doing this more widely, not just me")

Copyright statements are legally optional (for all juristiction
acknowledging the Bern-convention - which USA does since 1989 and
western european countries did since many years prior).

Reason authors include copyright statements anyway is, as I see it, as a
courtesy for others - i.e. signal who claims ownership in the work.

As an author, you are free to not say anything (which means anyone
wanting e.g. change or redistribute the work will have a hard time
validating if some licensing statement granting such permission is
legally valid, because only rights holders can grant others rights.

Makes sense to me that ftpmaster approves redistribution of works where
the author reveal who claims copyright but omits *when* that copyright
apply: The copyright year is useful to know when a copyright expire and
the work enters the public domain, but since Debian redistribution
already require free licensing which is sufficient even beyond eventual
expiration of copyright.  It is not ideal, however, because our users
might want to e.g. avoid copyleft licensing, and for those it would be
helpful to know at which point in time a certain work would get released
into the public domain and thereby allow more liberal use.

As a redistributor I find it a good practice to include most possible
copyright and licensing information provided by upstream authors,
exactly because we are doing a service for our users, and it is a slight
disservice to omit information that upstream put effort into tracking
and publishing.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/
 * Sponsorship: https://ko-fi.com/drjones

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