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Bug#388141: Handling the copyright mess of the website


Le 04/01/2012 07:20, Charles Plessy a écrit :
> Le Tue, Jan 03, 2012 at 02:56:48PM -0400, David Prévot a écrit :
>> We could contact every current contributor, and ask them if they are OK to:
>> - grant copyright of their future contributions to SPI;
>> - grant copyright of their past contributions to SPI.

Le 04/01/2012 07:20, Charles Plessy a écrit :
> I think that the disclaimer to the FSF is not the same as a copyright transfer,
> and may be actually more appropriate as a starting point (or http://unlicense.org/ ).

Here is a draft of a text (more than) inspired by those examples, we
could ask people to send it us back, signed with their public GPG key if
possible (will ask for proofread on debian-legal before actually sending
those request):

  I hereby acknowledge to Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
  non-profit organization of Indianapolis, United States,, that I
  disclaim all copyright interest in my works, which consist of
  edition or translation of portions of text from one human language to
  another human language, that I have provided to the Debian website or
  that I will provide in the future.

  To the best of my knowledge and belief, my contributions are either
  originally authored by me or are derived from prior works which I have
  verified are not subject to claims of copyright by other parties.

  To the best of my knowledge and belief, no individual, business,
  organization, government, or other entity has any copyright interest
  in my contributions, and I affirm that I will not make contributions
  that are otherwise encumbered.

> Otherwise, if you chose copyright transfers (and associated objections, as in
> my understanding, copyright transfer does not exist in some countries), I think
> that it would be fair to at least indicate if the license that is considered
> will be copyleft or not.

Of course, the message sent to current (and past) contributors should
begin with something like:

  In order to relicense the website content with a DFSG compatible
  license, as documented in #238245, we'd like to gather all website
  contributions as copyright SPI, that will allow us to move away from
  the Open Publication License (to 2-clause-BSD-style or GPLv2 for
  example). Please refer to the discussions in #238245 and #388141 for
  the rationale of this request, and please participate if you want to
  help us in solving this long standing license issue.

Le 04/01/2012 09:34, Tommi Vainikainen a écrit :
> I believe that copyright transfers are wrong path.
> […] Also, discussions
> during many years in #388141 seems to indicate that not even all Debian
> developers would be willing to assign copyright.

Let's not focus on those who won't accept, and let's be glad if most of
us will (and then, handle the specific cases one by one, hopefully,
there won't be too much). We can still ask to those who didn't accept to
assign copyright if they accept to change to a DFSG compliant license,
and remove unsuitable content (if we have no response for example).

> IMHO, your strategy works just fine if the request is instead only for a
> license change.

If the license chosen (well, #238245 is open since 10 May 2003, it would
be nice if someone could try and provide a partial conclusion about what
license would be our first choice) doesn't fit our needs in ten years,
we'll be back at square one, harder actually, since we will have more
difficulty to contact the older contributors, and because there will be
(hopefully) more contributors in the mean time.

> It can be a generic statement from authors such as any
> future license change by Debian project leader decision or just giving
> list of licenses as options.

Will it be the Debian project leader or SPI, as soon as it is clear
enough that Debian is able to use a DFSG free license (and change it if
this license becomes incompatible with DFSG for example), I don't mind
who is the copyright holder.

> AFAIK, currently there isn't full list of all authors to
> website.

CVS knows.

Le 04/01/2012 12:00, MJ Ray a écrit :

> I will not assign copyright to [SPI] because I feel that
> would make it more attractive to attackers.  SPI already holds too
> many assets for too long, in my opinion.

Would you care to propose a more suitable copyright holder?

> 2. I feel that forcing a choice between copyright assignment and being
> airbrushed out of the website is rather at odds with the usual idea of
> voluntary contributions to the project.

If we don't ask people, we're stuck (as we are for many years), unless
there is another nice solution we didn't yet think about. If a few
persons prefer to refuse copyright assignment and prefer to forbid the
rest of us to comply with our Social Contract, I don't see the point of
allowing them to do that.

> Nevertheless, I probably would grant DPLs (or suitable delegates)
> permission to pick a dual licence for material on the website if
> asked, so long as the previous licence(s) also held.

If a suitable license could be chosen ASAP in #238245, we could start at
<date> 2012 to publish the content with a dual license, that won't begin
to address the past problem, nor prevent us to face a similar problem in
a few years, but that would be a suitable first step in addressing the
main problem IMHO: make the future work is DFSG free.



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