[legal-discuss] Copyright statements in source

Luis Villa lvilla at wikimedia.org
Tue Jan 21 19:41:59 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM, Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com>wrote:

> If the license notice remains in the file, this mitigates the concern
> that having no legal information in a source file could lead to one of
> two bad future events if a source file ends up being indirectly taken
> out of context by some other project: either the project is too afraid
> to use the code because of unclear licensing, or the project will
> assume it's 'public domain' with no conditions attached.

Note that this is not a hypothetical problem for many downstream consumers;
it turns out that when you tell people "I want you to use my code" they do
that, and then other people do further downstream, and then when they want
to comply with your license they get very confused :)

I wrote about this somewhat at length a few years ago:


So if I understand Richard correctly, I think his suggested approach is
right: per-file *license* information, but not per-file information about
copyright holders/authors (except perhaps a generic "copyright by the
contributors" statement).

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