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From Chiradeep Vittal <>
Subject Re: [ASFCS40][DISCUSS] How should we move forward to resolution on the config files in "patches"? Was: "Re: [ASFCS40] Configuration file licensing followup"
Date Thu, 13 Sep 2012 17:49:07 GMT

On 9/13/12 7:26 AM, "David Nalley" <> wrote:

>> I see that Lawrence was suggesting a hypothetical that configuration
>> might not be copywritable. But I do not believe there is any precedent
>> that interpretation, and I would be nervous about jumping to
>Both Lawrence Rosen[1] and Richard Fontana[2] (the only IP lawyers to
>have weighed in on the subject on legal-discuss) both seem to be
>saying that generally configuration files are not copyrightable. I
>realize that isn't a bright line ruling, and that they aren't
>providing legal advice to us or the ASF, and even if they were that
>their comments aren't binding, but it's an interesting place to start.
>> 1. Identify any config files that are not derivative works (we wrote
>> from scratch) and mark these are okay. (And under the AL.)
>I have no idea how we would determine this. It appears that this was
>originally imported over two years ago, and was a mass import (meaning
>we lost history of anything prior to that git commit. Unless the
>person still happens to be around and recalls how they generated each
>one of the 20+ config files somewhere between 2 and 4 years ago. Then
>we have the issue of how it has been modified since then to deal with
>as well (did the person copypasta updated config from somewhere)
>> 2. Identify config files that were derivative works of other files and
>> 2.1. If the original file was under 15 lines, or if the configuration
>> was obviously very simplistic such as being a simple list of key value
>> assignments, mark the file as okay. (And under the AL.)
>key value assignments is probably easy to determine, and I'd guess
>most would fall into this category.
>> 2.2. If the original file was over 15 lines, or if the configuration
>> was complex, then:
>> 2.2.1. If the original programme was AL-compatible, note the file's
>> copyright notice in LICENSE.
>> 2.2.2. If the original programme was not AL-compatible, either:
>> Reach out to the original author and ask permission to use it
>> an AL licensed project.
>> Cleanroom our own configuration file.
>> What do you think? Something like this?
>I'd hate to propose something that causes more work than what is
>needed, especially since the legal minds discussing it seem to suggest
>that it's a non-issue from a copyright perspective. I am also happy to
>just wait on folks at lega-discuss@ suggest.

Given that there is only 1 way to write a configuration file, even if you
wrote it from scratch, it would look identical, except perhaps for
re-ordering. IANAL, the work in my opinion is not creative, but factual.

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