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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@gbiv.com>
Subject Re: Updating NOTICE files for previously AL 1.0 contributed code
Date Tue, 13 Apr 2010 05:11:07 GMT
On Apr 12, 2010, at 9:53 AM, Daniel F. Savarese wrote:
> In message <q2w55afdc851004101954q21098f72k1dbb1aded0a25426@mail.gmail.com>, Ni
> all Pemberton writes:
>> Indeed there is:
>> http://svn.apache.org/viewvc?view=3Drevision&revision=3D139272
>> Also Daniel is on the Commons PMC and could fix this himself.
> Certainly, if I knew this was proper (until now, I had been under
> the impression it was not).  I did a poor job expressing myself.
> I should have posed a question instead.  I'm not concerned with the
> specific case of Commons Net (it just brought the issue back to my
> attention and made a convenient example), but rather with the general
> case of any code contributed to the ASF under the AL 1.0.
> Should projects contributed to the ASF under the AL 1.0 which had their
> copyright statements stripped and do not presently contain an original
> copyright statement in the NOTICE file after conversion to the AL 2.0
> have an original copyright statement restored to the NOTICE file?

No.  If the original copyright owner wants us to place something
that is forward-thinking in the NOTICE file, like what you will
find in the Jackrabbit code, then we should do so.  However, that
becomes a license obligation on us and all of our downstream

If all you want is to retain credit over time, then you should
do that in the README or some other form of credits file.

> If so (assuming there's a motivating legal reason), should PMC's be
> asked to audit their projects to make sure that any such contributed
> AL 1.0 code that slipped through the cracks during AL 2.0 conversion
> have their NOTICE files updated properly?

There is no motivating legal reason.  Copyright notices are not
documentation -- they are statements of legal obligations.  We don't
put them in every file because they can't be updated over time as
they become inaccurate (and, in most cases, they start out being
inaccurate because the original coders fail to account for all of
their own employers, contracts, and copy-n-paste sources).

The sole purpose of such notices is to tell someone else
who to sue or who can sue over licensing issues, which is
something the ASF and Apache License are explicitly designed
to avoid.  The benefit you will receive from them is calls
from lawyers wanting to know when you decided to infringe their
intellectual property, most likely fifteen years after they copied
your code and removed your headers/notice.

That is why Apache has various policies to remove individual
identification from source code that is intended to be maintained
by the group.  This does not in any way prevent the original
authors from demanding such notices be retained, nor does it
prevent them from writing a bit of documentation about
project history.

The alternative is to have everyone add a notice whenever each
person (and/or their employer) makes a copyrightable addition to
a file.  However, since nobody knows how much of a change is
necessary to be separately "copyrightable", all that will create
is another source of pointless arguments, ugly code, and hurt feelings.

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