[legal-discuss] Copyright statements in source

Thierry Carrez thierry at openstack.org
Tue Jan 21 19:04:25 UTC 2014

For reference, past answer on that topic:

Rich Bowen wrote:
> Stefano suggested that I bring this to the legal-discuss list. I know
> that this has been discussed in the past, so I don't anticipate a great
> shift in sentiment, but it seemed worth discussing.
> My full thoughts are on my blog -
> http://drbacchus.com/copyright-statements-in-source-files - and I know
> some of you have seen this discussed on the docs mailing list, or seen
> it on planet.openstack
> Anyways, it has been my experience in Open Source communities that
> having a copyright statement at the top of a source file can be very
> off-putting to people who want to contribute to that file, due to the
> perception that it is "owned" by someone in particular.
> The statement is not necessary: copyright law ensures that contributors
> have copyright on the content that they author, and git keeps a
> permanent record of who contributed what. Some folks have claimed (the
> last time this came up on this list) that the statement was necessary,
> and this is not the case.
> It's also unscalable - think in terms of 10 years from now when every
> file potentially lists hundreds of copyright holders - or perhaps only
> those who saw fit to add their name to the growing list. What would this
> contribute?
> And if people are contributing solely for recognition - which seems at
> least part of the motivation for a copyright statement, perhaps 1)
> they're missing the point of Open Source and 2) we should provide a more
> public means of thanking the enormous list of contributors, rather than
> having it scattered across thousands of files that relatively few people
> will ever see.
> -- 
> Rich Bowen - rbowen at redhat.com
> OpenStack Community Liaison
> http://openstack.redhat.com/
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Thierry Carrez (ttx)

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