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debian/copyright vs year/author permutations


Given that accurately listing the copyright holder (together with the
years) for all files in a package is encouraged/required, I'm wondering
how to deal with the following problem:

In one of my packages, there are hundreds of files, most of which have
more than copyright holder, but since they were edited at different
times, there is a LOT of actual year/copyright holder combinations.
This means that if I want to describe the copyright of each file
accurately, using a format like:

 copyright 1999,2004 John Smith <j@s.com>
 copyright 2000-2004 Jane Other <j@o.com>

 copyright 1998,2001,2004 John Smith <j@s.com>

then even if I use wildcards in the file specification, there might not
be a lot of place where I could fold multiple stanzas to save on

The only idea I have that would not introduce inaccuracies would be to
group like this:

John Smith:
 copyright 1998
 copyright 1999
 copyright 2004
   foo/bar.c, foo/baz.cpp

But given that copyright on some files spans whole decades, this would
hardly save any space.

Another thing is - keeping this information up to date seems like a lot
of work.

Or should I just group authors (with unions of copyright year sets) and
files into rough batches even though this would not be accurate in all
cases? Such as claiming that an author has a copyright on a file even if
he does not, or does not in (all) given years?

How are other people dealing with this?

Marcin Owsiany <porridge@debian.org>             http://marcin.owsiany.pl/
GnuPG: 1024D/60F41216  FE67 DA2D 0ACA FC5E 3F75  D6F6 3A0D 8AA0 60F4 1216

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