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Re: logwatch: list of copyright holders

NB: If you can keep attribution intact in the future, that would help
a lot.

On Thu, 21 Feb 2008, Willi Mann wrote:
> >> The most important one is that not having all of the copyright
> >> holders represented means that we don't actually know what terms
> >> we are able to distribute the final work. A component of a work
> >> which is unlicenced makes the entire work undistributable.
> I don't understand why this is solved by a list of copyright
> holders. I always assumed it is solved by clear licensing terms.
> Please give me a clear argument, to ensure that I can convince
> upstream.

It's not solved by having a list of the copyright holders. It is
solved by having all the copyright holders agreement to the licencing
terms, which is what "represented" refers to. What the files say isn't
as important as what the licencing terms actually are.

> > IANAL, but I don't think so, or better, I don't agree to
> > one assumption.
> > 
> > Simple patches are not copyrightable (so FSF doesn't
> > require copyright transfer).

You'll note that I talk about copyright holders; the "component" in
the last sentence is refering to components which are copyrightable.
That said, in the absence of legal advice to the contrary, the best
course is to assume that everything is copyrighted, and get the
contributor to agree to the licensing terms.
> On the other  hand if some author, with  or without copyright notice
> in the  source code, later turns  up and says,  I'm copyright holder
> and  I  didn't  give  permission  to redistribute,  the  judge  will
> probably laugh at him and tell him, that he gave implicit permission
> by sending a patch to the project maintainer. But IANAL.

Once you get to that point, you've got a problem. Expecting the legal
system to act in a particular way when there are concrete steps that
can easily be taken to cause it to act that way is silly.

In any case, the actual state of the contributors and whether they
have been contacted and have acquiesced to the licensing terms needs
to be stated in the copyright file so the ftpmasters and anyone else
who uses this program can make an informed decision as to whether to
include it in the archive or use it themselves.

Don Armstrong

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one
by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
 -- Edmund Burke "Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discoontents"

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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