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Re: Apache license and machine-readable copyright

Giovanni Mascellani <g.mascellani@gmail.com> wrote:
> Il giorno lun, 16/02/2009 alle 17.19 +0000, MJ Ray ha scritto: [...]
> > Can you copy the owner names out of the NOTICE file into the Copyright
> > field?  "Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation" is not the
> > copyright holder, so does not conform to
> > http://wiki.debian.org/Proposals/CopyrightFormat#head-d1d2adac8db71e98883d5b052e3ad1760b51ed80
> > which is the specification of MaRCopyright that I know about.
> This is exactly the problem: I don't know who these people are. This is
> happening for two different and independent upstream: they've picked a
> file from an Apache project un put it into their project.

So there is no NOTICE file in those upstream projects?  What are they?

If so, then sorry, but I think we can't tell whether we have a
suitable copyright licence because you don't know who the holders are.
There seems no confirmation whether the person who stuck the Apache
licence on the files had the right to do so.

We've had many similar problems in the past, so that wouldn't be a
surprise and it's nothing to be ashamed of.  Often they're fixed
easily by asking upstream "who are the copyright holders?" and I hope
this is the same.

> But the problem isn't my upstream, but the Apache Software Foundation,
> because it's the ASF itself that doesn't revel the people behind the
> copyright, but rather says "licensed to the ASF...". This is the same
> license which applies to, for instance, the apache2 software, which is
> in main. So I don't think this is a legal problem.

I just checked and apache2-2.2.3/NOTICE states The Apache Software
Foundation as the copyright holder, which is correctly shown in
/usr/share/doc/apache2/copyright in debian (but not machine-readable).

I think this problem is with your upstreams messing up license
application, not the Apache Software Foundation.  There might be
another, more general problem that the ASF is not giving clear enough
instruction, but there's also this problem with your upstreams.

> But I don't know how to fit this situation in the machine-readable
> copyright format. Should I just discard che Copyright: field? Maybe the
> copyright format proposal should be amended in order to allow this sort
> of situations.

No, please don't discard the Copyright: field.  I don't think the
copyright format proposal should be amended in order to allow
incomplete licensing information.  I mean, this has been useful,
drawing attention to a licensing bug.

MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
(Notice http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html) tel:+44-844-4437-237

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