[Python-Dev] Copyright notices in modules

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Wed Jan 21 03:03:18 CET 2009

I would be all for cleaning up, if the lawyers agree, but I've spent
enough time talking to lawyers for the rest of my life. You know where
to reach Van Lindberg.

On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 5:20 PM, Raymond Hettinger <python at rcn.com> wrote:
> [Raymond Hettinger]
>>> I'm at a loss of why the notice needs to be there at all.
> [GvR]
>> 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
> company).
> 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.
> Raymond
> 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.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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