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From "Craig L Russell (Commented) (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (LEGAL-124) Are license headers really mandatory in every source file?
Date Sat, 11 Feb 2012 16:39:01 GMT

    [ https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-124?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=13206165#comment-13206165

Craig L Russell commented on LEGAL-124:


I'm surprised you are talking about putting copyright notices back into source files. We abandoned
that practice years ago (November 1, 2006). We now only require in individual files a Statement
(not a copyright notice, and not a license) that the file is distributed under the terms of
the Apache License. http://www.apache.org/legal/src-headers.html#headers

That Statement is 14 lines and seems wildly inappropriate for the files we're talking about,
which comprise several lines of example code that is used to glue an application together.
The files defy a rational definition of creative content.

I agree with your comments that regardless of the inclusion or not of a copyright notice in
each file, the work as a whole is able to be copyrighted, and in fact is copyrighted as a

I'm now reading between the lines...

I agree with you that the Statement is intended as a service to our downstream consumers to
give them confidence that they can include the source files in their own distributions by
following the conditions of the referenced license http://apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

If a project wants to omit the Statement in each trivial example file it's fine with me. It
would be nice to give guidance to our projects that trivial example files or files with a
minimum of creative content do not need to include the Statement in each file. 

If we're open to a "one liner" that can be used in place of the Statement, I'd offer this
Mini Statement:

/* Licensed under the terms of http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 */

And I continue to suggest that it is appropriate in many cases to omit the Statement or Mini
Statement for files that in the consensus opinion of the project have trivial creativity.
> Are license headers really mandatory in every source file?
> ----------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: LEGAL-124
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-124
>             Project: Legal Discuss
>          Issue Type: Question
>            Reporter: ant elder
> The Release FAQ says "Every source file must contain the appropriate ASF License text."
> The question often comes up if that really means MUST and if it means every single file
in SVN or with a source distribution when a release is being made. 
> I can't find any links now but thought i remember being told some years ago on legal-discuss
was that the top level LICENSE file covers everything anyway so the individual license headers
aren't strictly necessary especially for source files without significant IP. Could we get
a opinion here on if thats true? So for example things like short README files perhaps don't
need a license header or files without significant IP where the header can be problematic
for some reason.
> Any opinions here either way?

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