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Re: Question about the GPL copyright notice and the statement of copying

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: Question about the GPL copyright notice and the statement of copying permission not being included in all the source files of a product.
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 09:53:19 +0200

On 30 Jun 2004 23:14:24 -0700 (Carthik) wrote:

> David Kastrup <> wrote in message 
> > The product is licenced under whatever licence you received it under.
> > For publicly accessible downloads, it is a reasonable assumption that
> > files with a GPL header are licenced to you under the GPL.
> > 
> If there is a license.txt in teh bundle, and no GPL copyright
> statements or anything else related to GPL in the individual source
> files, is the product (bundle) GPLed, are the source files GPLed? I
> want to know if the product I received and the source files that
> constitute the product are GPLed. Maybe that's a better way of
> describing my question.

The product is the work as distributed, not the individual
files that might or might not be part of it. Prior to the
Berne convention, every physically separable part (such as
a page) might have needed a copyright notice, but currently
a work is protected by copyright the moment it comes into
existence, without the need to affix a copyright notice, or
to register the copyright. 

> > No, but it is prudent.
> The No is puzzling, cause if you do not mention anything about the GPL
> in the source files (all of them) then what "part" of the product _is_
> GPLed?

If the files are in a tarball, and the tarball contains a
license file, then a court would in all likelihood hold that
all the files are covered by that license, much like all the
pages of a book are covered by the copyright notice on the
first page. This would be neither more, nor less than any 
reasonable person would hold, anyway.

> > The product is under the licence you received it under.  If nothing
> > has been specified explicitly and no reasonably assumption in the form
> > of a licence file or licence header exists, there is no reason for you
> > to assume the GPL.
> My question is, to repeat myself, If a bundle (Tar file if you will),

The assumption that a tarball is a "bundle" (like a number of
unrelated documents held together by an elastic band) is IMHO
incorrect, especially if the contents of the tarball are clearly
meant to be compiled and installed as one product. To use djbware
as an example, a tarball containing djbdns and qmail tarballs
would be a bundle, but the djbdns and qmail tarballs would be
single works, covered "in toto" by their respective licenses,
whether or not every individual file contained a copyright notice. 
I mean, would you seriously argue that a book is a bundle of
chapters, and that the fact there is no copyright notice on each
chapter somehow changes its copyright status?

> includes a GPL license document, but none of the source files in the
> bundle do, is the product GPLed, are the source files GPLed?

Yes and yes.

"What is stated clearly conceives easily."  -- Inspired sales droid

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