Re: Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

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Re: Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

Sean Whitton
Hello,

On Tue 30 Oct 2018 at 09:34PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:

> Somewhat recently there has been significant discussion within the project
> regarding the necessity of documenting copyright attribution in
> debian/copyright.  The FTP team has reviewed the situation and takes the
> following position: [...]

Thank you for working on this.

> 4.  The FTP team believes that documenting copyright holders in
> debian/copyright is a good idea.  If policy were modified to make it along the
> lines of SHALL if the license does not explicitly allow it to be left out of
> binary distributions and SHOULD in all other cases, the FTP team believes this
> would be a good change make maintainer's efforts easier when a package license
> allows for it.

We don't use the term 'shall' in Policy.  We have 'must', 'should' and
'may' (see Policy 1.1).  I assume you mean the RFC2119 meaning of
'shall', which is equivalent to 'must'?

--
Sean Whitton

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Re: Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

Scott Kitterman-5


On October 31, 2018 2:44:46 AM UTC, Sean Whitton <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hello,
>
>On Tue 30 Oct 2018 at 09:34PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:
>
>> Somewhat recently there has been significant discussion within the
>project
>> regarding the necessity of documenting copyright attribution in
>> debian/copyright.  The FTP team has reviewed the situation and takes
>the
>> following position: [...]
>
>Thank you for working on this.
>
>> 4.  The FTP team believes that documenting copyright holders in
>> debian/copyright is a good idea.  If policy were modified to make it
>along the
>> lines of SHALL if the license does not explicitly allow it to be left
>out of
>> binary distributions and SHOULD in all other cases, the FTP team
>believes this
>> would be a good change make maintainer's efforts easier when a
>package license
>> allows for it.
>
>We don't use the term 'shall' in Policy.  We have 'must', 'should' and
>'may' (see Policy 1.1).  I assume you mean the RFC2119 meaning of
>'shall', which is equivalent to 'must'?

Yes.

Scott K

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Re: Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

Adrian Bunk-3
In reply to this post by Sean Whitton
On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 09:34:59PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:
>...
> 1.  Most licenses require copyright statements to be included. In the FTP
> team's view, unless a license explicitly states that  copyright attributions
> only apply to source distributions, they apply for source and binary, so must
> be documented in debian/copyright for license compliance reasons.
>...
> GPL requires an "appropriate copyright notice" for both source and binary
> forms.

My reading of 7(b) of GPLv3 would be that it is not required.

Have any lawyers or the FSF been consulted on that?

>...
> 3.  In a few cases, FTP masters have determined that full copyright
> attribution is both not feasible and, given the nature of the package, that an
> appropriate copyright notice does not need to list all copyright holders and
> allowed packages with an incomplete debian/copyright into the archive. Such a
> package still violates policy, although the FTP masters believe it to be a
> minor violation.  Just because such a determination has been made about one
> package, does not mean it should apply to another package.  Almost certainly
> the answer to requests for additional exceptions will be no.

If the ftp team believes that distributing GPL code without copyright
attributions in debian/copyright is required for license compliance
reasons, noone except the copyright holders can legally grant an
exception that allows Debian to distribute that code.

If one copyright holder of a package with an existing ftp team exception
package would take legal actions against a Debian mirror, what would be
the official position of Debian regarding the legality of what our
mirror distributes?

cu
Adrian

--

       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

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Re: Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

Scott Kitterman-5


On October 31, 2018 3:59:42 AM UTC, Adrian Bunk <[hidden email]> wrote:

>On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 09:34:59PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:
>>...
>> 1.  Most licenses require copyright statements to be included. In the
>FTP
>> team's view, unless a license explicitly states that  copyright
>attributions
>> only apply to source distributions, they apply for source and binary,
>so must
>> be documented in debian/copyright for license compliance reasons.
>>...
>> GPL requires an "appropriate copyright notice" for both source and
>binary
>> forms.
>
>My reading of 7(b) of GPLv3 would be that it is not required.
...

Section 7 is about "material you add to a covered work", it's not about things someone else has copyright on.  See section 4 which is referenced by Section 5 for source distribution and Section 6 for binary distribution.

Scott K

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Re: Documenting copyright holders in debian/copyright

Adrian Bunk-3
On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 04:30:23AM +0000, Scott Kitterman wrote:

>
>
> On October 31, 2018 3:59:42 AM UTC, Adrian Bunk <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 09:34:59PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> >>...
> >> 1.  Most licenses require copyright statements to be included. In the
> >FTP
> >> team's view, unless a license explicitly states that  copyright
> >attributions
> >> only apply to source distributions, they apply for source and binary,
> >so must
> >> be documented in debian/copyright for license compliance reasons.
> >>...
> >> GPL requires an "appropriate copyright notice" for both source and
> >binary
> >> forms.
> >
> >My reading of 7(b) of GPLv3 would be that it is not required.
> ...
>
> Section 7 is about "material you add to a covered work", it's not about things someone else has copyright on.  See section 4 which is referenced by Section 5 for source distribution and Section 6 for binary distribution.

IANAL, my reading would not be that listing every single copyright
holder is required by the term "appropriate copyright notice".

But if it is (or is for any other licence), allowing any exception in
the archive would IMHO be irresponsible:

This would mean distributing something on our mirrors that we consider
to be a copyright violation.

Any affected copyright holder would basically be invited to take legal
actions against a mirror in a jurisdiction of their choice if they want.

The effects of some university having to pay the costs associated with
signing a cease and desist letter for distributing Debian would not
be pretty.

Has any lawyer been consulted regarding what our legal requirements are?

> Scott K

cu
Adrian

--

       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed