debian control license

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debian control license

Avery Fay-4
Hi,

I'm interested in making a web based database of a subset of debian packages. Even though the scope of the information in the database would be larger than what's included in the debian package metadata, I think that for initial seeding purposes the debian metadata would be really useful. Specifically, I'd like to use the description field from the debian control file (and possibly other fields).

With that in mind:

1.) What is the license of debian control files?

2.) What requirements would I have to meet to include this information on a web site?

3.) (depending on the answers to the above) Could I use something like CC-by for the compete database of my site or would that conflict with using metadata from the debian packages?

Thanks,

Avery
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Re: debian control license

Matthew Johnson-12
On Sat Apr 11 01:53, Avery Fay wrote:
>
> 1.) What is the license of debian control files?

The licence of the packaging varies between packages. Often it is the
same licence as the package, BSD or GPL. The debian/copyright file
should tell you for each package. We only guarantee that the licence is
free, and that it's compatible with the licence of the package itself
(since the binary is a derivative work of the source and the packaging
scripts)

However, I'm not sure that the information you are extracting is covered
under copyright. If it's not, then you are good to go. If not, then
depending on interpretation, you may be creating a derivative work of
them all, which effectively means you need to treat the whole as GPL,
and omit any packages which have the packaging under a
non-GPL-compatible (but free) licence. I don't know whether such exist.

> 2.) What requirements would I have to meet to include this information on a
> web site?

Assuming for the moment that you are using copyrightable information and
creating a derivative work, then you must satisfy the licence of all the
source materials. This will resolve to distributing everything under the
GPL and therefore providing the "preferred form of modification".

> 3.) (depending on the answers to the above) Could I use something like CC-by
> for the compete database of my site or would that conflict with using
> metadata from the debian packages?

See above. First of all, databases are only debatably copyrightable;
they have different statuses in different jurisdictions. Secondly, I am
still not sure whether the metadata you are extracting is copyrightable.
If it's not, you can do what you like. If it is, then you are almost
certainly creating a derivative work, so you have to comply with the
licences of your source material, many of which are GPL, which means you
would have to use the GPL as well.

HTH, IANAL, etc

Matt

--
Matthew Johnson

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