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From "Adam (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (LEGAL-301) Attribution for Apache 2.0
Date Thu, 18 May 2017 04:08:04 GMT

    [ https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-301?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=16015168#comment-16015168

Adam commented on LEGAL-301:

I've been looking at switching to the Apache 2.0 license as a developer, and this same question
came up when I started thinking about attribution requirements. As far as I can tell with
my non-legal-expert understanding, there is no direct requirement to include copyright attribution
in this case (no NOTICE file, binary produced and distributed from unmodified Source form).
It would be great to have some amount of guidance on it. I can explain my reasoning, if that
helps clarify anything.

Section 4 obviously outlines the requirements to be met for (re)distribution. Section 4(a)
requires a copy of the License be included, but the standard license text does not itself
include any attribution headers. The standard text does contain an attribution reference line
via the template in Appendix, but note that, (a) it's only a template instructing you how
to apply the License to your work elsewhere, so there's no reason to believe it would ever
itself be modified in-place, and (b) the Appendix is not part of the License anyway (see the
opening to section 1, defining "License"), so the copy included to meet the requirements could
be a completely unmodified, fresh copy from the Apache website.

Section 4(b) doesn't apply in the case there are no modifications to the Source form when
generating an Object form of the work.

Section 4(c), which mentions Source form attribution notices, applies only to distribution
of "the Source form of any Derivative Works". 4(c) doesn't place a restriction on the Object
form of the original work.

The requirements of Section 4(d) don't apply if there is no NOTICE file. 4(d) says you "may
add" attribution notices, but the additions are in relation to a NOTICE file.

That all leads me to believe that the license terms permit the distribution of an Object form
binary (say, foo.exe) along-side a copy of the Version 2.0 license, with no copyright attribution,
because you can meet every requirement laid out in section 4. This seems somewhat problematic.
Not every repository contains a NOTICE file (it's optional!), and someone could produce and
distribute essentially anonymous binaries without attribution. (Not every binary necessarily
generates its own copyright notice, either.)

The above seems to be true even if the original project owners themselves distribute a binary:
they would distribute, at minimum, foo.exe, a plain LICENSE file, and _maybe_ an attached
copyright attribution notice in accordance with the Appendix's instructions of "applying"
the license. But the separate copyright attribution notice isn't required to be included by
others to meet the license's redistribution requirements!

The only loose attribution mechanism I see in practice would be that the name of the executable
would match the name of the originating project, and inclusion of an Object form work would
prompt reference to, e.g., "Foo is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0." That still
isn't a copyright attribution requirement though.

Have I missed something glaringly obvious? It seems like attribution should be a strong requirement
of any binary distributions of unmodified work.

> Attribution for Apache 2.0
> --------------------------
>                 Key: LEGAL-301
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-301
>             Project: Legal Discuss
>          Issue Type: Question
>            Reporter: Eden
> Hi, where in the Apache 2.0 license does it indicate that I need to retain attribution
notices (assuming there is not NOTICE file) for binary copies I distribute (but have not modified)?
I intend to attribute regardless but would like to understand exactly where it appears in
the license. Many thanks. 

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