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Bug#768292: debian-policy: please allow copyright file to refer to license text in separate files

Package: debian-policy
Severity: wishlist

[X-Debbugs-Cc: ftpmaster@debian.org because I know the Policy maintainers
don't actually control what is or isn't acceptable in the archive in this

Some packages currently have stanzas like this in their copyright files:

    License: MPL-2.0
     The complete text of the Mozilla Public License 2.0 can be found in
     the `MPL-2.0' file in the same directory as this file.

It is not clear to me whether Debian Policy allows this. I would like it
to be specifically allowed, unless there is some good reason not to; if
ftp-master tools like whatever tool generates
<https://ftp-master.debian.org/new.html> need to be able to extract these
files, it would be OK to prescribe some fixed naming convention, such as
/usr/share/doc/${package}/${name}.license or (if they are also required
to have a prescribed location in the source package)

One package that would benefit from this is adwaita-icon-theme. It currently
has an 87K copyright file[1], mechanically generated from a Perl script[2]
and four verbatim Creative Commons licenses[3] which are re-indented for
copyright-format by the script. If I'd known it was OK to do so, I would
much rather have shipped those four licenses as-is and just made the
copyright file refer to them.

If the licenses are allowed to be compressed (see also [4]) then
so much the better.


[1] http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/pkg-gnome/desktop/unstable/adwaita-icon-theme/debian/copyright?revision=43390&view=markup
[2] http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/pkg-gnome/desktop/unstable/adwaita-icon-theme/debian/copyright.pl?revision=43390&view=markup
[3] http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/pkg-gnome/desktop/unstable/adwaita-icon-theme/debian/
[4] https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=491055

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