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Bug#593533: debian-policy: Proposal to stop requesting to list initial Debian maintainers in debian/copyright

On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 12:37:54AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Copyright notices are strictly optional in countries that are signatories
> to Berne.  If the copyright holder doesn't put one on, we're under no
> obligation to invent one.

We're under no *legal* obligation to invent one, true, but having
documentation of the code's provenance is useful if there are questions of
legitimacy or if there's ever a concern about license ambiguities or
relicensing.  For Debian packaging we probably aren't ever going to run into
a situation where we have to worry about it, and for upstream code I think
it's fine to rely on upstream themselves to track this - but it does mean we
ought to at least have documentation of the *primary* upstream copyright
holders, even if they haven't bothered to include copyright notices
upstream.  So I'm not comfortable with a principle of only doing the bare
minimum required by law.

But none of this should stand in the way of dropping the requirement of
documenting the "original packagers" of the software, who may not (or no
longer) have any copyright interest in the current package.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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