[Python-Dev] Copyrights and licensing (was ... something irrelevant)

Tim Peters tim.one@home.com
Sun, 31 Dec 2000 20:31:18 -0500

[Martin von Loewis]
> I'd like to get an "official" clarification on this question. Is it
> the case that patches containing copyright notices are only accepted
> if they are accompanied with license information?

It's nigh unto impossible to get Guido to pay attention to these kinds of
issues until after it's too late -- guess who's still trying to get an FSF
approved license for Python 1.6 <wink>.

What I intend to push for is that nothing be accepted except under the
understanding that copyright is assigned to the Python Software Foundation;
but, since that doesn't exist yet, we're in limbo.

> I agree that the changes are minor, I also believe that I hold the
> copyright to the changes whether I attach a notice or not (at least
> according to our local copyright law).

Under U.S. law too.  The difference is that, without an explicit copyright
notice, it's a lot easier to get lawyers to ignore that reality <0.3 wink>.
When the PSF does come into being, the lawyers will doubtless make us hassle
everyone with an explicit copyright notice into signing reams of paperwork.
It's a drain on time and money for all concerned, IMO, with no real payback.

> What concerns me that without such a notice, gencodec.py looks as if
> CNRI holds the copyright to it. I'm not willing to assign the
> copyright of my changes to CNRI, and I'd like to avoid the impression
> of doing so.

Understood, and with sympathy.  Since the status of JPython/Jython is still
muddy, I urged Finn Bock to put his own copyright notice on his Jython work
for exactly the same reason (i.e., to prevent CNRI claiming it later).

Seems to me, though, that it may simplify life down the road if, whenever an
author felt a similar need to assert copyright explicitly, they list Guido
as the copyright holder.  He's not going to screw Python!  And it's
inevitable that all Python copyrights will eventually be owned by him and/or
the PSF anyway.

But, for God's sake, whatever you do, *please* (anyone) don't make us look
at a unique license!  We're not lawyers, but we've been paying lawyers out
of our own pockets to do this crap, and it's expensive and time-consuming.
If you can't trust Guido to do a Right Thing with your code, Python is
better off without it over the long haul.

> What is even more concerning is that CNRI also holds the copyright to
> the generated files, even though they are derived from information
> made available by the Unicode consortium!

It's no concern to me -- but then I'm not paranoid <wink>.

cnri-and-the-uc-can-fight-it-out-if-it-comes-to-that-ly y'rs  - tim