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Re: License issue on tiny Javascript fragment

Colin Turner <ct@piglets.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
> I hope you can help and advise on this issue. I am packaging a web
> application for Debian, I am also the principal upstream author. The
> code is generally GPL v2 PHP. Over the years the project inherited, from
> a side project, a small fragment of Javascript that has no explicit license.
> The problem I have is that the code is, like so much JS, sitting
> available, apparently for general consumption on several websites. I
> have been unable to acquire a license from any of the authors (no reply
> to emails) and the code is so astonishingly trivial it's hard to see how
> it could possibly be re-implemented without it being the same code with
> different variable names.
> Any guidance on what I should do? The functionality the code provides
> (counting and capping characters in textareas) is quite useful and
> losing it would probably cause dataloss in use of the application.

The FSF's guidelines used to specify [1]

  For the sake of registering the copyright on later versions of the
  software, you need to keep track of each person who makes
  significant changes.  A change of ten lines or so, or a few such
  changes, in a large program is not significant.

That wording has changed to remove the explicit reference to "ten
lines".  So in the copyright file, I would mention that this fragment
does not have an author and mention FSF's old position.  I do not know
how the ftp-masters will react, though.

Walter Landry

[1] http://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc-patches/2000-10/msg01035.html

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