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Re: Yearless copyrights: what do people think?

On Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 03:26:47PM +0200, Peter Pentchev wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 01:55:02PM +0100, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > 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/
[snip my original message]
> [snip useful information]
> > 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.
> Wait, I may have been unclear. I did not mean that I want to omit
> the upstream copyright years *when they are there*. And, of course,
> if upstream does not specify any copyright years, we cannot invent
> any out of thin air. So I guess my question was mainly what people
> think about dropping the years in the debian/* copyright notice
> (packaging files, patches, etc).

OK, so it seems I did it again: I sent out my original message before
really knowing myself what exactly the questions are that I mean
to ask :) So now that I have thought about it a little, here they are:

1. Does the Debian Project consider it okay for an upstream package to
   include one or more (or all) files with clear license grants (either
   included or referred to in the files), and with clear copyright
   notices (again, either in the files or in a central file) that
   contain the authors' names, but no years? Does such a package
   comply with the DFSG? I believe the answer ought to be "yes", but
   I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

2. If an upstream project does that, the debian/copyright file should
   reflect that and have a `Files: *` (or whatever pattern) notice that
   has a copyright notice without any years... right? And if an upstream
   project does that between releases, the debian/copyright file should
   change (drop the years) in the next "new upstream release" upload...

3. Now, what about the `Files: debian/*` section of the debian/copyright
   file? The common wisdom seems to be that, if only to make it easier to
   submit patches to the upstream project, the debian/* files ought to be
   licensed under the same terms as the upstream source. Now I know that
   licensing and copyright are different things :) So would the Debian
   Project consider it okay for a Debian package to have
   a `Files: debian/*` section in its copyright file that does not
   mention any years? This question is both from a DFSG point of view and
   from a "what would be best for our users" one. And does the answer
   depend on whether the upstream project's copyright notices include
   years or not? (as in, should we follow upstream's lead in that, too)

Note that none of that comes from any "it's so difficult" positions;
I am actually one of the people who would include file-by-file stanzas
in the debian/copyright files for upstream files with different
copyright years :)


Peter Pentchev  roam@ringlet.net roam@debian.org pp@storpool.com
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