[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Bug#47438: copyright statement needs updating?

I think the bottom line is this:

It is not a good idea for any one person (or even a group of people) to
hold copyrights to the policy, be it parts of it or the whole document.

In order to legally have the copyright not belong to the person, they need
to give up anything they've created -- we can only enforce that from the
beginning, as retroactively is a mess (which we're in now).

Many options here, and we may have to use some of them in conjunction with
others to get a full legal solution. OTOH, if Ian gives his copyright to
SPI and we change the welcome notice to the policy list, as well as send
an official notice to the policy list that any submissions become the
property of SPI -- then we've probably done the easiest thing that covers
all bases without messy signatures and whatnot.


On Sun, 24 Oct 1999 at 08:23, Raul Miller wrote about "Re: Bug#47438:...":

> On Sat, 23 Oct 1999 at 19:13, Raul Miller wrote:
> > > > The original copyright holder does not own the copyright to those
> > > > parts of the document he did not write.
> > > He does, however, own the copyright on the document as a whole.
> > > Fun, eh?
> On Sun, Oct 24, 1999 at 08:57:21AM +0200, Brock Rozen wrote:
> > No such thing -- he owns the copyright of the policy as it was until
> > others started adding to it. At which point he only holds copyright on the
> > section that he wrote, not the other ORIGINAL sections that others
> > produced. (Again, I'm not discussing changes they made to his sections)
> > 
> > Somebody posted a url on this -- and essentially, that what I'm repeating.
> > I no longer have the url.
> Well, someone named Brock Rozen once posted this url:
> http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/faq.html#q49
> which referred to the following text:
>    49. How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in
>        someone else's work?
>        Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or
>        to authorize someone else to create a new version of that work.
>        Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another's work, no
>        matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner's
>        consent. See Circular 14.
> In the specific case of debian-policy we have
> /usr/doc/debian-policy/copyright which says that Ian Jackson holds
> the copyright and that permission to modify and redistribute is under
> GPL terms.  I know that policy.html/index.html has a slightly different
> statement, but I don't know if Ian explicitly approved that or not.
> Anyways, the question is legally ambiguous -- and the ambiguity is that
> the author of a contribution to a GPLed work may not have intended for
> that contribution to be a part of that GPLed work.  The FSF handles this
> issue by asking contributors to works where FSF holds the copyright to
> explicitly provide a signed statement giving the FSF the right to the
> contributions.  Historically we've been a lot less fussy, both about
> our own work and about upstream software.
> In one sense, issue probably doesn't matter unless the copyright gets
> challenged in court.  In court, you can only defend copyright which you
> explicitly hold. Then again, we could try a class action suit against
> someone violating the GPL...
> In another sense, I think it's important that people understand what
> copyright is going to go on their work (in this example, submissions
> to debian-policy).  We probably don't have to have signed statements
> from everyone, but from the legal point of view they'd only help.
> [From the debian point of view, they might get in the way -- or they
> might not.  In the particular case of debian policy I can see some
> advantage to having an slow, deliberate process for changes.  I don't
> know what's best here.]
> Thanks,

Brock Rozen                                              brozen@torah.org
Director of Technical Services                             (410) 602-1350
Project Genesis                                     http://www.torah.org/ 

Reply to: