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RE: Re: Copyright notices - update everything to 2006?

From: Matthew Janulewicz <Matthew.Janulewicz_at_nextestate.com>
Date: 2006-01-10 00:29:09 CET

I'm not a developer (for Subversion) nor a copyright expert, nor do I play either on TV. But I've been involved in getting and maintaining copyrights for software, commercial and non.

Maybe this was a tenet from the lawyers, but we were always to provide the copyright office 'XX pages of current code'. The guidelines we used for displaying copyright were oldest year of copyrighted material in the body, to newest. In other words, something like this:

(c) 1999 - 2006 Acme Widget Corp, Inc.

The copyright applied to the whole body/product, not individual files. If you went and only displayed the actual year the file was changed, at some point in the very distant future, let's say a copyright expires for the oldest files not changed in the past 25 years. You wouldn't normally do this then have to renew copyrights for just a few files as they become grossly outdated. An author or publisher of a book doesn't (necessarily) copyright (or display a new date) for only chapters that have been updated in the next edition. The dates apply as a whole under normal circumstances.

Plus, it's easier to change all the dates in all the files to be consistent. Who wants to track when a certain file is falling out of copyright? And then have to change just those files? This way you can make it an annual event to just go through and increment one or two (maybe someday three! ;) ) characters in each file and be done with it.

As always, I could be wrong, of course.


-----Original Message-----
From: Branko Čibej [mailto:brane@xbc.nu]
Sent: Monday, January 09, 2006 2:07 PM
To: Peter N. Lundblad
Cc: Malcolm Rowe; dev@subversion.tigris.org
Subject: Re: Copyright notices - update everything to 2006?

Peter N. Lundblad wrote:
> On Mon, 9 Jan 2006, [UTF-8] Branko �^Libej wrote:
>> Malcolm Rowe wrote:
>>> I'm quite happy to update everything in a batch if it's something we
>>> want to do.
>> I think we should only change the copyright year in changed files.
> Unless there is a particularly good reason to do so, why not just update
> all files and be done with it. Less frustration, less noise in the
> patches... I'd say most files get some change over a year anyway. But I
> don't know copyright, so I hut up now...
Well, changing the copyright year in a file that doesn't contain any
"real" changes is, strictly speaking, a lie. The "noise in the patch"
consists of one changed line changed file per year... and it really
shouldn't be that hard to write a hook that checks the copyright date.

Not that I have time to write such a hook, of course... :(

-- Brane

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Received on Tue Jan 10 01:09:26 2006

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