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Re: License issues with md5deep

Ben Finney <bignose+hates-spam@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
> Giovanni Mascellani <g.mascellani@gmail.com> writes: [...]
> > Anyway, some files are different headings. md5.c reports:
> > /*
> >  * This code implements the MD5 message-digest algorithm.
> >  * The algorithm was written by Ron Rivest.  This code was
> >  * written by Colin Plumb in 1993, our understanding is 
> >  * that no copyright is claimed and that 
> >  * this code is in the public domain. [...]
> > Can I trust this understanding and mark also this file as left in
> > the public domain in debian/copyright?
> "No copyright is claimed" isn't enough to place something in the
> public domain (and many jurisdictions have no such thing).

but we don't know *why* they (whoever they are) understand that the
code is in the public domain.  It doesn't look to me like they are
claiming it just because no copyright was claimed, but iDunno.

It would be best to have a clearer statement on this md5.c (maybe it
was used elsewhere?) but I'd settle for identifying whose 'our' it is.

> > sha256.c has:
> > /*
> >  *  FIPS-180-2 compliant SHA-256 implementation
> >  *  written by Christophe Devine
> >  *
> >  *  This code has been distributed as PUBLIC DOMAIN.
> >  *
> >  *  Although normally licensed under the GPL on the author's web site,
> >  *  he has given me permission to distribute it as public domain as 
> >  *  part of md5deep. THANK YOU! Software authors are encouraged to
> >  *  use the GPL'ed version of this code available at:
> >  *  http://www.cr0.net:8040/code/crypto/sha256/ whenever possible.
> >  */
> > 
> > Is it correct to write in debian/copyright that also this file is in
> > the public domain?
> This seems clear enough, but we should seek the copyright holder's own
> words on this.

Yes, it would be good to see the permission notice.  'public domain as
part of md5deep' scares me - it reminds me of mistakes I once wrote.

The above are the only two points which worry me, along with the
copyright holder names of the two unmarked files, but maybe I'm lazy.
On the other things, I'd just copy them out in debian/copyright

> > Not only is this program not copyrighted, but IT CANNOT BE
> Wrong. Anything in the public domain can, merely by redistributing
> with some trivial amount of creative work, gain a new copyright
> holder.

To be clear: that new copyright holder only holds copyright over their
creative work, not the original, right?

> > PS: please, replay me in CC, because I'm not subscribed to debian-legal.
> Done.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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