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Re: Packaging text licenses

Quoting Francesco Poli (2019-12-14 17:22:09)
> On Sat, 14 Dec 2019 14:01:18 +0100 Baptiste BEAUPLAT wrote:
> > On 12/14/19 1:03 PM, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > > A rich collection of Free license fulltexts is relevant, not only 
> > > for our users to pick from (even on a lonely island) and copy into 
> > > new development project, but also as reference e.g. for testing 
> > > license checkers.
> > > 
> > > What is _not_ helpful in my opinion, however, is yet another 
> > > manually curated selection of random license texts.  What I see 
> > > generally useful is to package this: 
> > > https://github.com/spdx/license-list-XML
> > 
> > That looks like a great list to package. I'll need input on the 
> > repository license status from the legal team as it could be 
> > ambiguous
> I would be extremely cautious before including license texts as 
> content to be shipped by a Debian package.
> A number of license texts are not themselves licensed under DFSG-free 
> terms.
> And Debian promises to remain 100 % free, see [SC] #1. Any content of 
> a Debian package (in main) must be free according to the DFSG.
> [SC]: <https://www.debian.org/social_contract>
> License texts are usually [considered] the sole exception, but I think 
> the exception only applies when the license text is included in the 
> package *for the sole purpose* of documenting the legal terms under 
> which some part of the package is released.
> I don't think the exception may also apply when the license text is 
> the *actual payload* of the package (for instance, a package shipping 
> the text for CC-by-nc-nd-v1.0, when nothing in the package itself is 
> released under that license).
> [considered]: <https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/06/msg00299.html>

That's an interesting view.

Several packages now in Debian main contain license fulltexts without 
those licensing terms being applied at all to the project covered by 
that package.


  * licensecheck - includes license fulltexts in its testsuite
  * libsoftware-license-perl - purpose of project is to emit licenses

I have several times discovered projects shipping with e.g. GPL-3 but 
nothing in the project was licensed under that license.  I find it 
highly likely that there are plenty of such cases still in Debian - 
including ones where the "stray" license contain a non-modification 
clause (which I guess is the most likely non-Freeness in license 

Are all such packages in violation of DFSG?

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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