Copyright issues re Debian website (was: Copyright issues)

From: Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy(at)spi-inc(dot)org>
To: Bruce Perens <bruce(at)perens(dot)com>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, MJ Ray <mjr(at)phonecoop(dot)coop>
Subject: Copyright issues re Debian website (was: Copyright issues)
Date: 2008-03-04 18:55:57
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(This is no longer relevant to OpenWRT, so I changed the subject line.)

On Tue, Mar 04, 2008 at 09:55:38AM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> There is another way to go about it. Where copyrights are not explicitly
> stated, the Debian project can decide to uniformly make clear its own
> copyright upon its own web site, and make a /public notice /of its
> intention to do so, along with a call for past contributors to oppose
> and ask for their contribution to be removed before this takes place.
> This can be done in finite time. This is only a clarification of a
> copyright that always existed. Anyone, past, present, or future, who
> asserts that a never-formally-stated copyright of a portion of the
> project's web site exists that is not owned by the project is just
> trying to obstruct the project.

Based on my layman's understanding of copyright law, I am uneasy enough
with the assertion that this would allow free and clear transferral of
all copyright in the website to SPI that I would want SPI's lawyer to
confirm that it would work before any such transfer occurs. If you think
Debian should go this route, feel free to get this properly approved by
Debian (either via a GR or a DPL request that is publicized to Debian
and not overridden by a GR). In my role as an SPI board member, in
response to such a request from Debian I would definitely support asking
our lawyer about the validity of this, and if the result is affirmative
then I would support going ahead with it. (I haven't yet decided my
position on it in my separate role as a member of Debian.)

- Jimmy Kaplowitz


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