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Re: [Savannah-hackers-public] License and Copyright syntax question

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: [Savannah-hackers-public] License and Copyright syntax question
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2014 21:44:31 GMT

    Is the "(C)" part in "Copyright (C) 2014" required, highly-recommend, or
    optional ?  My regex currently requires '\([Cc]\)' .

Purely optional.  The regex should not accept but not require it.
This is one of the comments I needed to make on your original msg.

(I've submitted a change to maintain.texi about this to rms (weeks ago),
to describe the situation better.)

    Is it valid to write: "Copyright (C) 2014 by it's authors."
    Followed by "See AUTHORS file".

Well, "it's" should be "its".  This is one of the cases where I would
flag it, recommend changing it, but no need to make it hold up

    Is it valid to write: "Copyright 2009-2014 <address@hidden>" ?
    I recall there's a complication regarding listing years as a range.

GNU packages have a slight complication (putting a statement in the
package README).  But for nongnu packages, it's fine.

    Is it valid to write:
    "*  Some rights reserved. See COPYING, AUTHORS.
      *  This file may be used under the terms of the GNU General Public
      *  License version 3.0 as published by the Free Software Foundation
      *  and appearing in the file COPYING included in the packaging of
      *  this file."

    4a) is a valid license statement?  

It's suboptimal but valid.  (Not counting the lack of a Copyright line,
which I assume isn't what you're talking about here.)  I would once
again flag it, recommend changing to the standard wording, but go ahead
and accept it.

Also, factually, the GPL is not version "3.0" but "3".
It would be nice if that at least was fixed, but I still wouldn't call
it a stopper.  Lots of people and packages get it wrong.

    4b) is it acceptable for GNU Savannah or should we ask to change the
    wording to the standard broiler-plate text?


    Is it acceptable for copyright to appear not at the top of the file ?
    5a) is it valid copyright ?
    5b) is it acceptable for GNU Savannah ?

Yes and yes.  In fact, putting it at the end is the recommended practice
for ChangeLog files.  Also, it's conceivable though unusual that a
single file can contain copyright A, code A, copyright B, code B, if you
see what I mean ...

As a general rule, my view is that if the authors are making a
good-faith attempt to include a copyright+license, then that is fine.
(This is because my understanding from the FSF lawyers is that it will
almost certainly be interpreted as intended in the event of legal
action.)  The stopper is if there is no copyright or license statement
at all.


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