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Requirements for copyright notices in debian/copyright

Hello, FTP Archive team,

(Writing this message with my Debian Policy hat on.)

There have been multiple questions over the years about exactly what is
required in the debian/copyright file, and I'd like to collect all of the
answers and turn it into actual Policy so that we don't have ongoing
uncertainty and conflicting interpretations of mail messages written ago.
So this is probably the first in a series.  :)

I'm going to try to ask specific separate questions to get clarification,
with a goal of taking those answers and turning them into a proposed
Policy amendment, which I'll then send to you for vetting.

So, first question:

In a package with source files that have copyright notices by various
different authors, but which are all under the same *license*, does the
debian/copyright file have to list all of the separate copyright holders?
(Assume that we're all agreed that doing so would be ideal, and that the
package is large and this is annoying to do.)

To offer a specific example, suppose a source package has a LICENSE file
that says something like:

  Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
      The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

  This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
  under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
  Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
  option) any later version.

but individual files within that package have headers that look like:

  Copyright 2008 Russ Allbery <rra@stanford.edu>


  Copyright Joe Smith 1995

with the same GPL notice (so there's no ambiguity about any files under a
different license).  Does the Debian package maintainer need to include
all those other copyright statements in the debian/copyright header, or is
the statement from the LICENSE file sufficient?

A secondary question, which would be obviously resolved if the answer to
the above is no, is whether all of the specific years that are listed in
copyright notices need to be included.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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