[legal-discuss] Copyright statements in source

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Tue Jan 21 20:11:39 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 11:41:59AM -0800, Luis Villa wrote:
> 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 :)

Yes, I have been on both sides of this. :)

> I wrote about this somewhat at length a few years ago:
> http://tieguy.org/blog/2012/03/17/
> on-the-importance-of-per-file-license-information/
> 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).

It's at least an option to consider among various others. 

 - RF

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