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Re: Bug#523093: undetermined copyright/license violation

On Wed, 2009-04-08 at 21:05 +0200, Robert Millan wrote:
> Hi Jo,
> Nice to see your newly found interest in C++ packages (though, not
> completely unexpected) :-)

Nothing wrong with C++ in moderation. My last ITP was a C++ browser

> On Wed, Apr 08, 2009 at 06:26:18PM +0100, Jo Shields wrote:
> > Please note that this project in its current form contains swathes of
> > major copyright violations and cannot be uploaded to Debian - almost all
> > source files contain Tomboy source, with Copyright unilaterally changed.
> > 
> > Compare, for an example,
> > http://gitorious.org/projects/gnote/repos/mainline/blobs/master/src/preferencesdialog.cpp to http://svn.gnome.org/viewvc/tomboy/trunk/Tomboy/PreferencesDialog.cs?revision=2349&view=markup
> > 
> > This kind of rewrite is completely permitted under Tomboy's license -
> > changing the copyright without the author's permission is not.
> If there's a problem, we'll get it sorted out, but I need more specific
> info on your findings;  the example you pasted shows a file with nor
> copyright statement neither license information (from tomboy) and one
> with both of them (in gnote).  Please tell me which of these (in your
> judgement) apply:
>   - The new file seems to be asserting copyright for the code as
>     a whole, and it's not implicitly understood that it only applies
>     to the originality added to it by rewriting in C++.
>     (this is somewhat contentious, since there are examples of other
>     programs doing the same, but it can be fixed by adding a clarification
>     to each file)
>   - The new license (GPL v3) is incompatible with LGPL v2.1
>     (it's not; see section 13 of the LGPL v2.1)
>   - There are copyright/license statements being replaced, elsewhere in
>     the code.
>     (if this is so, please give some example)
>   - Something else.
>     (be my guest)

GNote's source (I gave an example, but examples cover pretty much the
entire source tree) includes verbatim copies of Tomboy's source. This is
a reasonable way to develop a port (i.e. keep the old code there to
refer to when writing new code) - however, the copyright header in the
file is clearly asserting that the file is 100% copyrighted by Hubert
Figuiere when it's not.

Continuing with PreferencesDialog.cs as the example, compare:
preferencesdialog.cpp lines 68-73 - PreferencesDialog.cs lines 66-71
preferencesdialog.cpp lines 90-103 - PreferencesDialog.cs lines 88-100
preferencesdialog.cpp lines 385-396 - PreferencesDialog.cs lines 403-408

And so on. "* Copyright (C) 2009 Hubert Figuiere" is simply false, and a
clear violation of Tomboy's license. Hubert's work is impressive, but is
not his own work - it's the people in
http://svn.gnome.org/viewvc/tomboy/trunk/AUTHORS?revision=2210&view=markup plus him.

I'm not doing a detailed analysis on every file in Tomboy's source tree
because frankly there's too much of it. 

> > Tomboy's upstream have been alerted, and are trying to contact the GNote
> > author to resolve the issue
> Good to know.  I'll speak with the gnote author too, but first you'll
> have to give some more information, or at least point me to it :-)
> Is there some description/summary of the problem elsewhere I can check?

You'd need to speak to the Tomboy people for more detail. Try #tomboy on

> > - until then, GNote cannot be considered
> > suitable for Debian.
> Sure.  Btw, I'm adding debian-legal to CC, perhaps they can provide some
> insight (as you know, when there are doubts about legal stuff it is
> considered good practice to discuss things in that list).
> Cheers

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