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Re: Distributed files: licenses

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: Distributed files: licenses
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 15:00:53 -0600 (CST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.01 (GSO 1266 2009-07-14)

On Tue, 2 Feb 2010, NightStrike wrote:
What is the convention held by the typical project out there?  I know
nothing about licenses, nor how to actually handle them.  All insight
is greatly appreciated.

Copyright information should always be retained and presentable in some way in order to satisfy the law. A requirement to provide a copy of the license depends on the terms of the license. My interpretation of GPL is that anyone distributing binaries is required to also distribute some notification text. For example, for GPLv2, it is necessary to provide some text in order to satisfy section 3 of the license. Quite a lot of GPL-encumbered software is distributed in violation of its license, in spite of good intentions.

A common way to satisfy license requirements is to include documentation packages with your binary package, and ensure that the documentation packages include a copy of the license, and the requisite provision text which allows you to distribute the binaries (i.e. your stated obligations). The recipient needs to be notified somehow in a way that they will notice.

Software which uses a GUI installer can display all copyright and license information in the installer license text ("Do you accept?") area.

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,

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