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Re: Overview of copyright issues

From: Anthony W. Youngman
Subject: Re: Overview of copyright issues
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2009 07:46:35 +0100
User-agent: Turnpike/6.07-M (<UJc6TllYPTCak3mvQGb+2+qoJ8>)

In message <address@hidden>, Joseph Wakeling <address@hidden> writes
Reinhold Kainhofer wrote:
... which I'm sure will NOT hold up in court, so I propose we really end this
discussion. Please leave the lawyering to the lawyers and lets go back to

Please understand the motivation for OPENING this discussion -- not to
debate which license or what license, but to propose a few concrete
things the LP coding team can do to clarify licensing and (perhaps) make
it easier to upgrade the license if that's desired.

I'm very wary of the "or later" wording - I wouldn't want to push it on people. And there's a whole bunch of licences that are GPL-compatible that people might like to use.

I think that the guidelines should say "all new code must be licenced compatibly with v2 and v3. The preferred licence is 'v2 or later'".

I particularly think it would be a good idea to make sure that all files
in the source tree -- code and docs -- have both copyright and licensing
statements in them.

Yup. And the contributors file should list the over-riding licence chosen by any contributor. That way, if Joe Bloggs licenced everything under v2, then asks you to put him down as licencing his code "v2 and v3", that change can be retroactive to ALL his code (there's no problem here because he's granting EXTRA rights). You probably want to put a copy of that email grant with the contributors file.

More particularly, does anyone object to me adding a GFDL 1.1 or later
notice to the doc files I have written?

It's your copyright, licence it as you wish (provided it's not incompatible with what's gone before).

One rider - please add the "with no invariant sections etc" wording so that it's compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines. You are aware the GFDL as it stands is not recognised as a Free licence? I'm not sure where you'll find that wording - probably on the Debian website, and almost certainly if you search debian-legal.

Best wishes,

   -- Joe

Anthony W. Youngman - address@hidden

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