[legal-discuss] Copyright statements in source

Sean Dague sean at dague.net
Wed Jan 22 00:05:15 UTC 2014

On 01/21/2014 03:11 PM, Richard Fontana wrote:
> 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. 

For what it's worth, we are actually enforcing the inclusion of license
headers in our test automation systems.

So all projects that use Hacking get enforcement of this automatically.


Sean Dague
Samsung Research America
sean at dague.net / sean.dague at samsung.com

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