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Re: Help about license

On Mon, Feb 28, 2005 at 02:43:06PM -0300, Nelson A. de Oliveira wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Hi mentors
> I need one help.
> When there is a program that only says "(c) GNU Copyleft", what do I put
> on debian/copyright file, at section "License:"?
> GNU Copyleft could be considered GNU GPL?
This is a common mistake, and you should correct upstream, and
probably wait until they provide corrected source before trying to get
Debian to distribute it.

The GPL (a so-called "copyleft" license) is a license.  "Copyright
2005 by Justin Pryzby" indicates the copyright holder, which is a
person or an organization (for example, the employer of the
programmer).  The GPL cannot hold a copyright.

Its very good that you ask; many people do not understand the
copyright file.  As one of many files necessary to create a
well-behaved package, its easy to overlook, since it is not actively
used in the build process.

It should include:

 - The name of the person creating the Debian package; I would
   consider it a best-practice to include a license notice on your
   modifications to the upstream source, as well as to ./debian/*,
   and it would be best if each of the nontrivial files has such a
   notice as well;

 - The location of the upstream source (and debian/rules should also
   provide get_orig_source which creates the .orig.tar.gz);

 - The copyright holder of the upstream source;

 - The authors of the upstream source (may differ from the copyright
   holder); ideally, all contributers are mentioned;

 - The license under which the copyright holder has released the
   software.  This is always different from each of the above.  For a
   large software package, this could be quite long.  Ideally, every
   file should be accounted for.  Its not necessary to duplicate the
   license text for each file, but the copyright file should provide
   sufficient justification for Debian's right to Modify And
   Distribute.  The full license should be included, unless the file
   references /usr/share/common-licenses/.  If it does reference a
   license in that directory, it should still have (for example) the
   complete 4 paragraph GPL header and disclaimer.

See the xserver-xfree86 package for an example of a copyright file
from a complicated package.



[0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/03/msg02190.html

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