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Classpath API documentation licensing is unclear

From: Kalle Olavi Niemitalo
Subject: Classpath API documentation licensing is unclear
Date: Sat, 07 May 2005 12:20:43 +0300

Some parts of this should perhaps be entered to the bug tracker,
but I'm not sure how to group the issues, so I'll just post
everything here.

I built Classpath --with-gjdoc from CVS and want to put the API
HTML documentation on a local HTTP server so that it loads
faster.  This server can be accessed by several persons and might
be visible from the Internet in the future.  Now I need to know
what requirements I must satisfy in order to be legally allowed
to distribute the files in this manner.

I have found the following evidence:

* classpath/doc/api/html/java/lang/Object.html and other
  class-specific HTML files end with a copyright+license notice
  that states that "This file is part of GNU Classpath" which can
  be used under GNU GPL v2 or later plus extra permissions for
  linking.  However, it is not clear whether the notice is just
  part of the documentation of the class or actually applies to
  the documentation itself.  If the HTML file is indeed part of
  "this library", then the wording of the notice would seem to
  claim that linking to it is "making a combined work" that must
  be covered by the GPL because the process does not "produce an

  says that Classpath documentation used to be licensed under the
  GNU GPL or an unnamed copyleft license, and that the GNU FDL was
  created; but it does not say how the documentation is licensed

* In
  Mark Wielaard stated that the documentation is derived from
  the source code of Classpath and the GNU GPL thus applies, but
  the FSF would like to license the documentation under the GNU FDL.

Thus, I presume the API documentation is indeed licensed under
the same GPL+exception as the source code, and any relicensing to
FDL does not affect my copy.  To put the documents on my server,
I'll have to accompany them with the source code from which they
were generated (the exact version from CVS; I can put that in a
.tar.bz2) and the text of the GNU GPL v2 (which is already part
of the source tree).

I would like you to make the following changes to clarify the

* Describe the licensing of the whole API HTML tree in one place,
  such as about.html.  (That's where I looked.)  If all the HTML
  files are licensed the same way, put the license here;
  otherwise state which parts are licensed differently, or even
  that licensing may vary from file to file (which would
  discourage distributing the documentation).

* Make
  point to that place for the licensing of API documentation.

* Change the "This file is part of GNU Classpath" text to make
  clear whether it also applies to documentation files and
  whether the linking clause applies to HTML links.

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