[Python-Dev] Copyright notices in modules

Raymond Hettinger python at rcn.com
Wed Jan 21 02:20:44 CET 2009

[Raymond Hettinger]
>> I'm at a loss of why the notice needs to be there at all.

> There's a difference between contributing a whole file and
> contributing a patch. Patches do not require copyright notices. Whole
> files do. This is not affected by later edits to the file.

That makes sense.  In general though, I think if a contributor isn't
required by their company to add a copyright, then this sort of thing
should be left out of the source code.  Most of the contributors here
don't seem to copyright-up everything they do (with the exception
of big packages or externally maintained resources).

If everyone making a significant contribution has a contributor agreement
on file, perhaps we can build a list of those in a single file rather than
scattering notices throughout the code.  I don't see that those benefit
anyone (maintainers, the original contributor, or the contributor's

At least these notices are somewhat innocuous.  The ones that were
the most irritating are the ones requiring a literal copy of the notice
to be placed in the docs.  A while back, I spent a day getting us in
compliance with those.

FWIW, I'm not picking on anyone.  I would just like to see a practice
emerge where these stop getting added and perhaps start getting removed
unless they are actually necessary for some reason (i.e. a company requires it).

AFAICT, little notices like the one atop numbers.py don't confer property
rights to anyone.  The original purpose of a copyright notice has been lost.
It has become useless boilerplate, a toothless warning sign about a unclaimable
property claim on donated code.


P.S.  It seems silly that the copyright on PEP3141 says, "this document has 
been placed in the public domain" but the code itself has a company copyright.
The former seems like something someone would care more about as a
creative expression or original research.

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