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Re: Upstream GPL-3+ vs debian/* GPL-2+

Eriberto Mota <eriberto@debian.org> writes:

> Now, I would like to understand why the packaging isn't a derivative
> work (when haven't a patch).

The term “derived work” or “derivative work” is a term of art from
copyright law. The determination of whether one work is, in this sense,
derived from some particular other work, is made ultimately by a judge
in a legal jurisdiction.

Given that caveat, the general idea is: Work BAR is derived from work
FOO if, in the determination of whoever is making the decision, work BAR
was created by *copying* the (whole or part of) work FOO.

Work BAR is possibly later modified a little, or extensively; but the
idea is that one could trace the provenance of the work back through
copies and modifications, and arrive at work FOO.

So the Debian packaging work in ‘debian/’ for work FOO is generally not
created by starting from a copy of FOO. Instead, the packaging work is
generally created from something else; it is not a modified FOO. So if
that's true, the packaging work is not a work derived from FOO.


 \      “I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvelous to be ever |
  `\       fascinated by the mere supernatural …” —Joseph Conrad, _The |
_o__)                                                     Shadow-Line_ |
Ben Finney

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