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Copyright license without copyright statement?

Hi debian-legal,

Is an explicit Copyright (C) YEAR AUTHOR statement required to
make a license grant effective?

This question came up for makepp[1] which includes the following
LICENSE file expressing the intent of the authors to release the
software under the terms of GPLv2 or Aristic:

| This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
| it under the terms of either:
| a) the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software
| Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version, or
| b) the "Artistic License"

There are, however, no Copyright statements at all regarding the
software; not in released code or documentation nor in CVS or on
the project website.

What does lack of the statement mean for the license grant?

A Copyright statement seems to be an implicitly precondition of
e.g. the GPL, which has a Copyright statement boilerplate in the
section "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs".

Without a copyright statement, I wouldn't know what to include in
the Copyright field of machine-parseable debian/copyright.

On the other hand, my understanding is that copyright applies to
works by default, explicitly stated or not. The original authors
are known, they hold the Copyright by default and they explicitly
released the work under a Free Software license (or two).

This makes me assume that the license grant is effective even
without Copyright statement and that the software could be
included as such in Debian.

Does this assumption hold? Are there precedents of such cases -
I couldn't find any in the list archives? Any advise, thoughts, 
or discussion would be much appreciated!

Please CC me and Daniel as we not subscribed to the list.

Thanks and happy weekend,


[1] http://makepp.sf.net

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