[python-uk] copyright info in source

Doug Winter doug.winter at isotoma.com
Tue Sep 10 11:02:13 CEST 2013

On 09/09/13 19:53, Russel Winder wrote:
> Sadly, although it would be nice to have a file that says it applies 
> to all files and so be very DRY, this will not work in UK and USA law, 
> possibly also other jurisdictions. The licence statement has to be in 
> each and every individual file since in UK and USA law each file is 
> deemed a separate work. If you check FSF and other FOSS licence places 
> they will set this out as the process because of this problem. Some 
> IDEs even have plugins to sort this out for you!


There have been many, many cases of open source projects with valid 
LICENSE files that turn out to have a couple of files from somewhere 
else that are not appropriately licensed.  I don't know if anyone 
remembers the mplayer saga on debian-legal, for example.

By putting a (c) statement and license summary in every file you are 
removing the risk from someone who uses your code that they are going to 
end up in a difficult position later.  Google are being reasonable in 
protecting themselves here.

Although getting licensing right is amazingly dull, it is relatively 
easy if you use a good license just follow the instructions provided 
with it.

FWIW, personally I recommend the Apache License 2.0 as the best license 
available right now (if you don't care about copylefting), and it has 
very clear instructions in the appendix:


That notice should be included in every file, because each is a 
potentially independent work.



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