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Bug#536730: lintian: [checks/copyright-file] Overstatement about years and authors in copyright-without-copyright-notice?

Package: lintian
Version: 2.2.13
Severity: normal

Greetings, Lintian maintainers.

I just read the following from Lintian:

W:         copyright-without-copyright-notice

N:                                                   Debian requires the
N:    copyright file include the authors and years of copyright

After checking Policy § 12.5 (Copyright information), I could not find such a
requirement to dig in the details:

‘Every package must be accompanied by a verbatim copy of its copyright and
distribution license’

In my understanding, if Upstream does not indicate years, then there is no
requirement in Debian to investigate this and provide a complement of
information. Moreover, the copyright holder is not necessary the author, it is
often his employer, so listing the authors when they do not hold the copyright
does not seem to be requested as the Lintian warning suggests.

Have a nice day,

-- Charles Plessy, Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan.

-- System Information:
Debian Release: 5.0
  APT prefers unstable
  APT policy: (500, 'unstable'), (500, 'testing'), (500, 'stable')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.26-1-amd64 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=fr_FR.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=fr_FR.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash

Versions of packages lintian depends on:
ii  binutils            2.18.1~cvs20080103-7 The GNU assembler, linker and bina
ii  diffstat            1.45-2               produces graph of changes introduc
ii  dpkg-dev            1.14.25              Debian package development tools
ii  file                4.26-1               Determines file type using "magic"
ii  gettext             0.17-4               GNU Internationalization utilities
ii  intltool-debian     0.35.0+20060710.1    Help i18n of RFC822 compliant conf
ii  libapt-pkg-perl     0.1.22+b1            Perl interface to libapt-pkg
ii  libipc-run-perl     0.80-2               Perl module for running processes
ii  libparse-debianchan 1.1.1-2              parse Debian changelogs and output
ii  libtimedate-perl    1.1600-9             Time and date functions for Perl
ii  liburi-perl         1.35.dfsg.1-1        Manipulates and accesses URI strin
ii  man-db              2.5.2-4              on-line manual pager
ii  perl [libdigest-sha 5.10.0-22            Larry Wall's Practical Extraction 

lintian recommends no packages.

Versions of packages lintian suggests:
pn  binutils-multiarch            <none>     (no description available)
pn  libtext-template-perl         <none>     (no description available)
ii  man-db                        2.5.2-4    on-line manual pager

-- no debconf information

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