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Re: how (not) to write copyright files

From a slightly different perspective, here's what you *should* do to
write a copyright file:

1) Find the license declaration in the upstream source. That should
look like this for GPLed works:

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

And similar. You are not looking for something that starts like this:

		       Version 2, June 1991

 Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
     59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA

Or this:

			 The "Artistic License"


You need to find the bit which says "This program is distributable
under (license X|the following license:)". It is absolutely *NOT*
implicit that if a copy of the GPL (or some other license) is included
in the source tree, the work is licensed under the GPL. If no such
statement is present, no copyright license has been granted; go and
get the upstream author to add one, or we can't distribute it at all.

Copy that statement _verbatim_ into the copyright file. There should
be (but does not have to be) a list of copyright owners and dates
accompanying it. If there is, copy that too. If there isn't, do your
best to make a list, and ask upstream to include it in the upstream
source tree and keep it up to date.

If you have sought and received mail from the copyright holder
clarifying the copyright or license, include that verbatim.

2) Include your own name, email address, and copyright dates,
identified as the package maintainer. Copyright subsists in Debian
packaging itself; it's easily complicated enough for that, so you have
partial copyright interest in anything you package. Never remove names
or dates from this list unless you are repackaging from scratch.

3) Include a description of how you obtained the upstream source
tarball. This should be sufficient for anybody to duplicate the
process immediately, but don't worry too much if it isn't (eg, the
server is not public or no longer accessible).

4) If the license itself is present in /usr/share/common-licenses/,
include a reference to that file. Otherwise, include the full text of
the license itself.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

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