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Re: License and Copyright info for debconf translation of aide package

On Wed, 20 Jan 2021 10:16:19 +0100 Marc Haber wrote:

> Hi,


> while reviewing the aide package for writing a machine-readable
> debian/copyright file, I have stumbled up on the translations.

I think that paying attention to translation licenses is a good thing
to do.
Thanks for caring about it!

> https://salsa.debian.org/debian/aide/-/tree/master/debian/po
> Oh, what a mess.
> Most of the translatiosn don't have a license statement at all, some
> have correctly stated that the same license as for the aide package
> applies, and one translator has made an obvious cut&paste error, putting
> the aide translation under the same license as the postfix package.

Ouch!  :-(

> Since the postfix package uses a rather exotic dual-license scheme that
> doesn't include a GPL variant, this is rather bad for an otherweise
> GPLled package.

Indeed, postfix is dual-licensed under the EPL v2.0 and the IBM CPL v1.0
(I am [not even convinced] that this license meets the DFSG).

Definitely GPL-incompatible, anyway.
I personally think that this translation should be re-licensed by the
translators or removed.

[not even convinced]: <https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/06/msg00234.html>

> Most of the files have not been touched for a decade, and I doubt that
> the original translators are still around.
> Can I safely assume that a translation without an explicit license was
> meant to be licensed with the package, which would be GPL-2+ in this
> case?

Well, a translation (.po file) is a derivative work of the original
message collection (.pot file), which is extracted from the original
If the original program is under the GNU GPL v2 license or later, one
can argue that the translation is only distributable under the same
licensing scheme (or later), and hence implicitly under the GPL.

However, my personal opinion is that it would be much much better, if
the licensing status of the translation file were explicitly stated.
Hence, I would suggest you to seek clarification from translators,
whenever possible.

> Or is this unlicensed work and need to be relicensed, and in the
> case the original translator is no longer available, must be removed?

Maybe not removed, but a license clarification should be sought.
What do others think?

 There's not a second to spare! To the laboratory!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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