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From Robert Burrell Donkin <robertburrelldon...@gmail.com>
Subject Copyright Notices, Source Headers and Licenses (By Example)
Date Thu, 13 Oct 2011 20:12:07 GMT
(Using [1] as an illustration. I recommend [2] for further reading.
Please jump in where I've been unclear)


A copyright notice is a simple claim of copyright ownership: for
example "Copyright 2000, 2010 Oracle and/or its affiliates."

It is vital that only the owner (or their agent) alters a copyright
notice unless specific written permission been granted.

Apache projects work in a highly collaborative fashion without
assigning copyright to a single legal entity[3]. Copyright ownership
is therefore complex. The version control system forms the canonical
record of contribution authorship (when committers follow their
CLA[4]). A secondary list of copyright ownership at the top of each
document is difficult to maintain with the level of accuracy required
by law. So, Apache policy [5] requires that copyright notices are
removed or relocated (to the NOTICE document [6]).

But the owner must either provide written permission or perform the
changes themselves. In the case of our example[1], Oracle should be
contacted ASAP and asked to provide written permission to either
relocate or remove the copyright notices.


A source header[5] is legal boilerplate included within a document,
and (as Apache understands it) excludes the copyright notice. For our
example, the source header is [7] which gives some general meta-data,
disclaims warranty and refers to a public license (LGPLv3) for the
file (and so is quite typical). The copyright owner (or anyone with a
appropriate license) may issue any number of licenses[8] for a
document. An appropriate source header allows a license to be bundled
with the document[9] but does not prevent the document being licensed
in other ways.

For someone with a suitable alternative license, modifying or removing
a source header should not required additional written permission. In
particular, source arriving at Apache under a CCLA, ICLA or software
grant should have a suitable alternative license. So that downstream
consumers are clear about the license issued by Apache (and to
simplify maintenance), policy asks that source arriving under CLAs and
grants is edited to replace the existing header with the standard
Apache source header [10].

For source that is not covered by CLAs or grants, different rules
apply [11]. So the key question for every document is whether it is
covered by the grant or it's inclusion relies on the application of an
open source license.


Questions? Want more details? Should I move on to strategy suggestions?

Robert

[1]
/*************************************************************************
 *
 * DO NOT ALTER OR REMOVE COPYRIGHT NOTICES OR THIS FILE HEADER.
 *
 * Copyright 2000, 2010 Oracle and/or its affiliates.
 *
 * OpenOffice.org - a multi-platform office productivity suite
 *
 * This file is part of OpenOffice.org.
 *
 * OpenOffice.org is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
 * it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3
 * only, as published by the Free Software Foundation.
 *
 * OpenOffice.org is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
 * but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
 * MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
 * GNU Lesser General Public License version 3 for more details
 * (a copy is included in the LICENSE file that accompanied this code).
 *
 * You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License
 * version 3 along with OpenOffice.org.  If not, see
 * <http://www.openoffice.org/license.html>
 * for a copy of the LGPLv3 License.
 *
 ************************************************************************/

[2] http://rosenlaw.com/oslbook.htm
[3] In contrast to the FSF who find that ownership is convenient for
enforcement of strong copyleft license
[4] http://www.apache.org/licenses/icla.txt clause 7 insists that
committers clearly indicate any commits which are not their original
work
[5] http://www.apache.org/legal/src-headers.html
[6] Add something like
  "This software is based on code that is copyright 2000, 2010 Oracle
and/or its affiliates."
[7]
 * OpenOffice.org - a multi-platform office productivity suite
 *
 * This file is part of OpenOffice.org.
 *
 * OpenOffice.org is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
 * it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3
 * only, as published by the Free Software Foundation.
 *
 * OpenOffice.org is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
 * but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
 * MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
 * GNU Lesser General Public License version 3 for more details
 * (a copy is included in the LICENSE file that accompanied this code).
 *
 * You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License
 * version 3 along with OpenOffice.org.  If not, see
 * <http://www.openoffice.org/license.html>
 * for a copy of the LGPLv3 License.
[8] Unless the owner is bound by an exclusive contract
[9] Which is very convenient for downstream consumers
[10]
       Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one
       or more contributor license agreements.  See the NOTICE file
       distributed with this work for additional information
       regarding copyright ownership.  The ASF licenses this file
       to you under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the
       "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance
       with the License.  You may obtain a copy of the License at

         http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

       Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing,
       software distributed under the License is distributed on an
       "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY
       KIND, either express or implied.  See the License for the
       specific language governing permissions and limitations
       under the License.
[11] The original license should be preserved, and the Apache header
only added when a substantial change is introduce

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