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Re: Opinion needed - included component w/o licensing doc

On Tue, Jul 10, 2001 at 02:58:44PM -0700, Greg Wiley wrote:
> I am not a member of this list so please respond
> to me directly.  I am a fledgling package main-
> tainer and understand that legal questions should
> be brought to this list.

Yes, that's correct.  Thanks for doing so.  :)

> I have taken on a small package for my first project and have run into a
> licensing problem:
> The package, metrics, contains a collection of small programs.  One
> program was released by it's author under the GPL, one group of programs
> was released into the public domain.  Two programs, lc and ccount,
> however, have no supporting license or copyright documentation.  In the
> case of ccount, the original author's email address (10 years old) is
> available and I will attempt to contact--but do not expect much success.
> Without evidence of any license for these programs, I think I must assume
> that any use is contrary to the authors' interests and that including
> these programs in the package makes it non-free.
> Please advise.

No, it's worse than that.  Without evidence of any license for these
programs, you must assume that they are under copyright, unless you have
reason to believe that they are in the public domain, and that all the
copyright holder's rights have been reserved.

In other words, you have no right to redistribute them at all.

I suggest making the best effort you can to contact the author(s), since
they probably didn't intend to restrict usage of their code to this degree.

The other programs can go into main.  The GPL and public domain are both
easily DFSG-free.

G. Branden Robinson                |      When dogma enters the brain, all
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      intellectual activity ceases.
branden@debian.org                 |      -- Robert Anton Wilson
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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