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-   -   Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question (http://www.linux-archive.org/fedora-advisory-board/45068-copying-gpl-code-one-project-another-legal-question.html)

"Yaakov Nemoy" 02-01-2008 09:37 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
Hi List,

I have a legal question that I'm not sure about. I would like to copy
some code from snake, a project hosted on hosted.fp.o, written by
jlaska, copyrighted attributed to RH, into smolt, which the copyrights
are attributed to Mike McGrath. I'm making some changes to the code,
and of course keeping the GPL license. How do I label the copyrights?
In Mike's name? in RH's name? in both? And how do I label it
exactly?

Please advise,

Yaakov Nemoy

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Michael Tiemann 02-01-2008 09:42 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
Yaakov Nemoy wrote:

Hi List,

I have a legal question that I'm not sure about. I would like to copy
some code from snake, a project hosted on hosted.fp.o, written by
jlaska, copyrighted attributed to RH, into smolt, which the copyrights
are attributed to Mike McGrath. I'm making some changes to the code,
and of course keeping the GPL license. How do I label the copyrights?
In Mike's name? in RH's name? in both? And how do I label it
exactly?
What I recall from my days of contributing code to the FSF was that one
added a line for one's own code. Thus, I added to the FSF's copyright
as follows:


Copyright (c) 1987, 1988, 1989 The Free Software Foundation
Copyright (c) 1989 Michael Tiemann

After I did a copyright assignment to the FSF, it became:

Copyright (c) 1987, 1988, 1989 The Free Software Foundation

But I am not a lawyer and that's just my memory.

M

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Dream so big you can share -- me

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"Tom "spot" Callaway" 02-01-2008 09:45 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
On Fri, 2008-02-01 at 17:37 -0500, Yaakov Nemoy wrote:
> Hi List,
>
> I have a legal question that I'm not sure about. I would like to copy
> some code from snake, a project hosted on hosted.fp.o, written by
> jlaska, copyrighted attributed to RH, into smolt, which the copyrights
> are attributed to Mike McGrath. I'm making some changes to the code,
> and of course keeping the GPL license. How do I label the copyrights?
> In Mike's name? in RH's name? in both? And how do I label it
> exactly?

The SFLC has a document which covers this:

http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2007/gpl-non-gpl-collaboration.html

That document is focused on gpl and non-gpl collaboration, but the
essentials are there (look at 2.1).
Essentially, just retain Mike's Copyright attribution as is, and add
your new copyright line above it.

~spot

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Rahul Sundaram 02-01-2008 09:50 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
Yaakov Nemoy wrote:

Hi List,

I have a legal question that I'm not sure about. I would like to copy
some code from snake, a project hosted on hosted.fp.o, written by
jlaska, copyrighted attributed to RH, into smolt, which the copyrights
are attributed to Mike McGrath. I'm making some changes to the code,
and of course keeping the GPL license. How do I label the copyrights?
In Mike's name? in RH's name? in both? And how do I label it
exactly?

Please advise,


Note there is a fedora-legal list which is probably a better place.

IANAL but what is usually done is:

If you copy entire files, retain the copyright and license notices as it
is. If you copy parts of another file, note that copyright and license
information in the header


Rahul

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Bill Nottingham 02-01-2008 10:09 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
Yaakov Nemoy (loupgaroublond@gmail.com) said:
> I have a legal question that I'm not sure about. I would like to copy
> some code from snake, a project hosted on hosted.fp.o, written by
> jlaska, copyrighted attributed to RH, into smolt, which the copyrights
> are attributed to Mike McGrath.

Note that just because part of smolt is attributed to Mike doesn't
mean the whole thing needs be, unless he is requiring copyright
assignment.

Bill

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"Yaakov Nemoy" 02-01-2008 10:13 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
On Feb 1, 2008 6:09 PM, Bill Nottingham <notting@redhat.com> wrote:
> Yaakov Nemoy (loupgaroublond@gmail.com) said:
> > I have a legal question that I'm not sure about. I would like to copy
> > some code from snake, a project hosted on hosted.fp.o, written by
> > jlaska, copyrighted attributed to RH, into smolt, which the copyrights
> > are attributed to Mike McGrath.
>
> Note that just because part of smolt is attributed to Mike doesn't
> mean the whole thing needs be, unless he is requiring copyright
> assignment.

He isn't explicitly, but having a mixed copyright situation can cause
problems down the road.

-Yaakov

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Bill Nottingham 02-01-2008 10:18 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
Yaakov Nemoy (loupgaroublond@gmail.com) said:
> > Note that just because part of smolt is attributed to Mike doesn't
> > mean the whole thing needs be, unless he is requiring copyright
> > assignment.
>
> He isn't explicitly, but having a mixed copyright situation can cause
> problems down the road.

Right, but if any patches so far have not *had* explicit copyright
assignment, it's in that boat already.

Bill

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"Yaakov Nemoy" 02-01-2008 10:21 PM

Copying GPL code from one project to another: Legal Question
 
On Feb 1, 2008 6:18 PM, Bill Nottingham <notting@redhat.com> wrote:
> Yaakov Nemoy (loupgaroublond@gmail.com) said:
> > > Note that just because part of smolt is attributed to Mike doesn't
> > > mean the whole thing needs be, unless he is requiring copyright
> > > assignment.
> >
> > He isn't explicitly, but having a mixed copyright situation can cause
> > problems down the road.
>
> Right, but if any patches so far have not *had* explicit copyright
> assignment, it's in that boat already.

Good point, I'll have to contact all the devs then. Fortunately there
are only a few of us :)

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