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Re: gpl version 2 for cvs

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: gpl version 2 for cvs
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 14:15:14 -0400

    Do you know what they are?

Not any more.  I can research again.  But is there a problem with just
updating?  It's not like the basic meaning changed or anything.

    It looks to me like the existing copyright notices do follow the
    suggestions.  In what way do you think they're defective?

The standard copyright wording for individual source files looks like
the below (from a bison source file).  (The appendix to the GPL itself
has an example of this as well.)

The CVS sources, by contrast, look like this (from add.c):
 * Copyright (c) 1992, Brian Berliner and Jeff Polk
 * Copyright (c) 1989-1992, Brian Berliner
 *  You may distribute under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
 *  specified in the README file that comes with the CVS source distribution.

There are several problems:

1) Legally, just saying "as specified in the README file" is not
   sufficient.  Something resembling the actual notice has to appear in
   each source file.  This sucks, but the legal system cannot be bug-fixed.

2) Ranges in copyright years are not allowed.  Each year must be written
   out.  This sucks too.

3) There are no copyright years for anything after 1992, but I feel
   certain that add.c has been modified in the last 10 years :).  In
   general, each year that a 

There is more information about painful legalities in the GNU
maintainers document maintain.texi (of course lots of the stuff in there
will be irrelevant to cvs, since it's not technically a GNU project, but
lots of it is useful in general):

Here's the example from bison.

/* Subroutines for bison
   Copyright 1984, 1989, 2000, 2001 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

   This file is part of Bison, the GNU Compiler Compiler.

   Bison is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
   under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
   the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option)
   any later version.

   Bison is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
   WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
   General Public License for more details.

   You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
   along with Bison; see the file COPYING.  If not, write to the Free
   Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA
   02111-1307, USA.  */

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