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Re: Copyright license without copyright statement?

On Fri, 15 Feb 2013 13:03:39 +0100 Max Vozeler wrote:

> Hi debian-legal,

Hi and thanks for getting in touch with this list!

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

As far as I understand it, I would say that, according to current
copyright laws in (almost) all jurisdictions, a copyright notice is
*not* required in order for a work to be effectively copyrighted.

And a license grant by the copyright holders should be valid
regardless of the presence of copyright notices.

But please note that IANAL and TINLA.

> 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".

Please note that this section is placed after the end of the actual
license text ("end of terms and conditions").
It is not normative, it basically describes "best practice" guidelines.

The actual GPLv2 text states, in section 0:

|   0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
| a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
| under the terms of this General Public License.

This seems to mean that only the permission notice is required,
not the copyright notice.

However, please note that section 1 states, in part:

|  1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
|  source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
|  conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
|  copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty;

Hence, it seems to me that, in order to legally redistribute the work,
you are required to add appropriate copyright notices and disclaimers
of warranty, if they are not already present.

The GPLv3 contains similar provisions.

Anyone who knows better than me is encouraged to correct me.

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

Probably the copyright notice(s) you had to "reconstruct" by yourself,
as I explained above...

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


> Thanks and happy weekend,

You're welcome.

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