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Re: [Bug-gnulib] missing licenses in gnulib

Robert Millan <rmh@debian.org> writes:

> I don't know how does copyright law apply to auto-generated programs.  Maybe
> debian-legal can offer advice on this.

The answer is "it depends", so let me give a few more details about
the file in question, so that debian-legal knows what we're talking
about.  While I'm at it I'll also give you my informed layperson's

You can get the contents of the file here:

These contents are derived automatically from the Unicode Data Files,
which are available from the Unicode Consortium under the Unicode Copyright

The program that generates lbrkprop.h is GPL'ed, but none of this
GPL'ed code survives in lbrkprop.h.  lbrkprop.h merely consists of a
small wrapper (about 15 lines of simple code, which are unprotectible
by copyright in my opinion) followed by data which are automatically
derived from the Unicode Data Files.

Since pure data are not protected by copyright, and since the wrapper
is so small as to be uncopyrightable, I think the entire file is in
the public domain.

So, I think your concerns would be allayed by a brief notice to this
effect.  Something like this, perhaps?

/* Generated automatically by gen-lbrkprop for Unicode 3.1.0.  */
/* This file is in the public domain; it is software derived from
   the Unicode Data Files under the terms of the Unicode Copyright.  */

Bruno Haible writes:

> It's ridiculous to put a copyright license on an automatically
> generated file if the generating program is available under GPL,
> since anyone could take that generating program, modify its printf()
> statements to emit a different license, and run the generating
> program.

It's not always ridiculous to do such a thing.  For example, Bison is
GPLed, but Bison puts a copyright notice (the GPL with a special
exception) into the source-code files that it generates automatically.
Users are of course free to modify Bison to emit a different license,
but if they redistribute the resulting output in violation of the
Bison terms, they are still in violation of Bison's license.

So I'm afraid that we have to evaluate these things on a case-by-case

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