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Re: License for Devel::Refcount

On Wed, 13 May 2009 14:22:37 +0100, Paul LeoNerd Evans wrote:

> > There is no license or copyright statement anywhere in
> > Devel::Refcount, which makes it iffy to package. :-)
> Yes there is:
>   http://cpansearch.perl.org/src/PEVANS/Devel-Refcount-0.04/META.yml
> The "licence" field says "perl"
> > We need a license statement and a copyright line somewhere in the
> > file, whether it be in the POD or header comments (or both, as I
> > generally do for my packages).
> Presumablly this field is sufficient?
I'm sorry, but according to my legal understanding and to Debian
Policy a license is not enough. The legal information we need
contains two parts:
* the copyright holder (the one who is allowed to set conditions for
  the use of a work);
* the license (the actual conditions, or the transferred rights)

Only copyright and license together say "I as the one who is entitled
to decide on this issues [copyright] release the work under the
following rules [license]." A copyright notice without a license
means "all rights reserved" (i.e. "you are not allowed to do
anything"), a license without a notice about the copyright holder
doesn't say who actually transfers those rights.

The easiest way to give this information is (taken from some random


Copyright YYYY-YYYY, Jane Doe

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the same terms as Perl itself.



Copyright (C) YYYY by Joe Doe E<lt>joe@example.orgE<gt>

=head1 LICENSE

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the same terms as Perl itself, either Perl version 5.8.5 or,
at your option, any later version of Perl 5 you may have available.

(but a note in the code or in the README is also fine, as long as it
contains "Copyright $copyright_holder" and a license statement)

Sorry to bother you with this technicalities; I know that Debian is a
bit picky about these issues but we need to make sure we don't run into
any troubles anywhere in the world.

Thanks for taking the time to deal with our concerns!
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