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From Andy Seaborne <>
Subject Forwarded: About LICENSE/NOTICE files
Date Wed, 21 Mar 2012 09:46:02 GMT
This is an extract (and reformatted) from

While the mesaage is about Apache OpenOffice (AOO) , this extract is 
about principles of NOTICE and LICENSE.

It is relevant to Jena as general understanding.  When the project 
releases combined distributions (e.g. Fuseki), there is more licensing 
foo to deal with because we reship other systems.

I'm collecting copies of licenses in:

and there is an uber-NOTICE file.

((After the svn re-org might end up in a dist/ area off the top of the 
tree as I've seen done elsewhere.))

The hardest thing to deal with for Jena is "hidden items" where, for 
example, an Apache project places something in their NOTICE file so when 
we redistribute, not just depend on, a binary, we need to include their 
NOTICE statements (as I understand it).

---- Example ---
 From Apache HttpComponents Client:

This project contains annotations derived from JCIP-ANNOTATIONS
Copyright (c) 2005 Brian Goetz and Tim Peierls. See


On 21/03/12 05:45, Marvin Humphrey wrote:


First, a general response:

There has been considerable (interminable?) debate on this list and 
elsewhere as to what goes in LICENSE and what goes in NOTICE. 
Personally, I don't really care how things get resolved; my main 
motivation in starting this thread is that we avoid putting AOO through 
the wringer that we put Rave, Kafka, etc. through, because what with all 
those binaries the cost of rolling a release candidate for AOO is high.

So please, everyone... get it all out of your system now, and don't all 
of a sudden decide that to -1 an AOO release candidate because in your 
opinion something that was supposed to go in NOTICE ended up in LICENSE 
or vice versa or whatever.

Now, to address the specifics:

Current fashion with regards to NOTICE seems to be that we put stuff 
there like the advertising clause of a 4-clause BSD dependency, and that 
we do *not* put stuff there like the the copyright notice on 2-clause or 
3-clause BSD or ALv2 unless some copyright holder has decided that 
they're (ahem) more special than all our other contributors and demanded 
specific recognition (via "copyright relocation") in NOTICE.  See 
LEGAL-62 and LEGAL-59 as apologia, and
the Apache HTTPD LICENSE/NOTICE files as canonical samples.

IMO, the LICENSE/NOTICE dichotomy debates are sound and fury signifying
little, so long as the following are true:

     * All code, either contributed to the ASF or bundled as a
       dependency, has proper provenance documentation.
     * All source code is clearly associated with the license the author
       contributed it under, typically via licenses or license headers
       embedded in individual source files, but sometimes via a local
       README as might be appropriate for a commentless format like
     * All primary and dependency code is utilized under licenses
       compatible with aggregate distribution under ALv2.

IANAL, but it seems to me that so long as we get individual source file
license tagging right, whether redundant licensing information ends up 
in "LICENSE" or "NOTICE" is unlikely to be a determining factor in 
whether somebody launches a lawsuit.


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