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Re: Unicode Character Database

On Mon, Jul 07, 2003 at 07:57:45PM +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
> First of all, let's suppose that the license is DFSG free.  It's:

> | UCD Terms of Use
> | 
> | Disclaimer
> | 
> |     The Unicode Character Database is provided as is by Unicode,
> |     Inc. No claims are made as to fitness for any particular
> |     purpose. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. The
> |     recipient agrees to determine applicability of information
> |     provided. If this file has been purchased on magnetic or optical
> |     media from Unicode, Inc., the sole remedy for any claim will be
> |     exchange of defective media within 90 days of receipt.
> | 
> |     This disclaimer is applicable for all other data files
> |     accompanying the Unicode Character Database, some of which have
> |     been compiled by the Unicode Consortium, and some of which have
> |     been supplied by other sources.
> | 
> | Limitations on Rights to Redistribute This Data
> | 
> |     Recipient is granted the right to make copies in any form for
> |     internal distribution and to freely use the information supplied
> |     in the creation of products supporting the Unicode Standard. The
> |     files in the Unicode Character Database can be redistributed to
> |     third parties or other organizations (whether for profit or not)
> |     as long as this notice and the disclaimer notice are retained.
> |     Information can be extracted from these files and used in
> |     documentation or programs, as long as there is an accompanying
> |     notice indicating the source.
> | 
> |     The file Unihan.txt contains older and inconsistent Terms of
> |     Use. That language is overridden by these terms.

> However, many packages that include a copy of parts of the UCD do not
> indicate the source (I would expect such a notice in the
> debian/copyright file) and are thus violating the license.

This license is not actually DFSG-free; it grants the right to make
copies, to use copies for creating products, and to distribute copies
*internally*, but it does not grant the right to distribute copies
publically or to modify the file.  However, as has been noted elsewhere
on this mailing list (and in reference to this particular file, IIRC),
databases and indices are not copyrightable per se in the United States;
and it is my belief that, where software is concerned, Debian should not
recognize any such copyright claim as valid.  It's also been suggested
to me that even in Europe (where copyright, or something akin to a
copyright, does exist for databases), this sort of table might be
exempted as an "interface definition file".

However, I think one of the suggestions that came out of the previous
discussion was that this file be sanitized to eliminate any information
that *might* be copyrightable (i.e., anything that isn't strictly part
of the interface definition).  Once this is done, the file should be ok,

So if the data is copyrightable, then the license is not DFSG-free; and
if it's not copyrightable, no license (or license notice) is necessary.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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