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#12 can you please clarify the copyright/license situation?

General
open
nobody
None
5
2013-07-08
2013-07-06
JoSch
No

Hi,
while creating a Debian package from LDView I ran into trouble regarding the copyright of LDView and its included components. It is hard to gather the required information as most files included in LDView lack a copyright statement at the beginning of the file. Here are my more specific questions:

http://ldview.sourceforge.net/ states "LDView and this web page are both Copyright © 2009 Travis Cobbs". This conflicts with "some" files which claim that LDView is copyright of "Travis Cobbs & Peter Bartfai". On the other hand there are directories like LDExporter which contain only one hint of the copyright holder. In LDExporter/LDExporter.cpp it says "m_appCopyright("Copyright (C) 2008 Travis Cobbs")". So is LDExporter and its content by Travis Cobbs only or by Travis Cobbs AND Peter Bartfai? It is released under the GPL2 as well?

The LDLoader subdirectory seems to all be by "Lars C. Hassing"? There are only four files which say so. Are there exceptions which are not by him?

The LDLib, TRE and QT directories contains no C++ source file at all which tells who has the copyright. In fact the files which do contain copyright information are translation files and not sourcecode files. So maybe they are all GPL2. Are they? And even if they are: who is the author of the source code in those directories?

Then there is the TCFoundation directory. The only two files in it which state copyright information are ConvertUTF.c and ConvertUTF.h which are by "Unicode, Inc.". What about the rest? Is TCFoundation part of another project? Who is the author?

The there are all the resources like images and models. They probably GPL too? Who is their author?

Can you please clarify the situation? It would be nice if you either add a copyright notice at the top of each file or one file which explains the situation. It would further help if you add at least the years for which authors hold copyright over each file? It seems that Travis Cobbs is having copyright over most files since 2000 and Peter Bartfai only joined in 2009?

Thanks!

cheers, josch

Discussion

  • Travis Cobbs
    Travis Cobbs
    2013-07-06

    I'm the original author, and Peter stepped in to handle the Qt version. That means that he is the author of much of the Qt stuff (although it is based on an original Qt version by me). The files in the LDView root, plus the CUI, Help, Icons, LDExporter, LDLib, LDLoader, LDViewThumbs, LDVLib, LGEOTables, MacOSX, OSMesa, TCFoundation, Textures, TRE, and UnMirrorStuds directories are Copyright Travis Cobbs unless otherwise specified. Everything that isn't explicitly stated to have a different license is GPLV2.

    I agree that this needs to be cleaned up, but it will take some time to do so.

     
    • JoSch
      JoSch
      2013-07-06

      Based on that information, can you confirm that the following summary is correct:

      Files: *
      Copyright: 
       2000-2009 Travis Cobbs
      License: GPL-2
      
      Files: QT/*
      Copyright:
       2000-2009 Travis Cobbs
       2009 Peter Bartfai
      License: GPL-2
      
      Files: LDLoader/LDLAutoCamera.cpp LDLoader/LDLAutoCamera.h LDLoader/LDLModelLine.cpp
      Copyright:
       2004-2008 Lars C. Hassing <SP.lars@AM.hassings.dk>
       2000-2009 Travis Cobbs
      License: MIT
      
      Files: LDLoader/LDrawIni.c LDLoader/LDrawIni.h
      Copyright:
       2004-2008 Lars C. Hassing <SP.lars@AM.hassings.dk>
      License: MIT
      
      Files: TCFoundation/ConvertUTF.c TCFoundation/ConvertUTF.h
      Copyright:
       2001-2004 Unicode, Inc.
      License: Unicode
      
       
  • Travis Cobbs
    Travis Cobbs
    2013-07-06

    That's mostly correct. There are some corrections. First of all, while 2009 might be the latest copyright date in the files, the actual date for any file modified after 2009 would be later. Figuring out the modification date can be a pain, but I believe that simply listing 2013 all by itself as the Copyright date is legally fine.

    Also, Peter has been working on the Qt code since at least 2005. However, if those files list 2013, then that really doesn't matter either.

    Additionally, everything in the 3rdParty directory is individually licensed as listed, and the top-level gl2ps directory also 3rd-Party. (I actually moved it into the 3rdParty directory, but never deleted it from the top-level directory.)

     
    • JoSch
      JoSch
      2013-07-06

      Thank you for the clarification.

      And sorry, I forgot to mention an important detail. The reason I only asked about some directories in my initial message is, that I deleted 1008 files from the original sources. This includes (but is not limited to) the 3rdParty directory and the gl2ps directory. The reason for the deletion was firstly, that it is not allowed to include 3rd party code in Debian source packages (instead one must depend on the appropriate development package). Secondly, that lots of code was dead and never compiled. And thirdly there are some precompiled binaries in the source tree which is also not allowed in Debian source packages.

      I will adapt the Debian copyright summary according to your last message. Thank you!

       
  • Peter Bartfai
    Peter Bartfai
    2013-07-06

    The reason why we have 3rd party code and precompiled binaries to provide partability to the source code. We compile the source not only on Windows but on several major Linux distributions, most of them do not contain the package we depend on.

    Please let me know how I can support your work.

     
    • JoSch
      JoSch
      2013-07-06

      Generally, upstream projects can help by following this guide:

      https://wiki.debian.org/UpstreamGuide

      But I fear for the reason you describe, there is no way around including 3rdParty code. It is no big problem for me. Just every time you do a new release, I will run a script I wrote over the tarball you release to clean it of all the stuff which must not be included in Debian.

       
  • JoSch
    JoSch
    2013-07-07

    Hi Peter,

    randomly diff-ing around I found two inconsistencies I didnt see before.

    QT/LDView.spec says GPLv2+ while QT/PKGBUILD GPLv3

    But I thought LDView was GPL2 only?

     
  • Travis Cobbs
    Travis Cobbs
    2013-07-08

    I believe that GPLv2 automatically implies GPLv3 as part of the license. My intention is for LDView to continue to be available as GPLv2. However, since Peter does the Qt work, if he wants the Qt version to be GPLv3, that's his call. (I'm not a fan of GPLv3, and will never personally use it.)

     
  • JoSch
    JoSch
    2013-07-08

    No, the GPLv2 does not automatically imply any later version. I do not think many people would use the GPL if this was the case. The problem with that is, that one can of course not be sure what the FSF decides the next license to be. So it could be dangerous to give a blanket statement like that.

    What you as the copyright holder state is: "You can distribute this work by the terms of <insert license="" name="" or="" conditions="" here="">". Where "license name" can include the statement "version XX or any later version". But this doesnt have to be included.

    The linux kernel is a popular example for a GPL2-only codebase. This is the reason why manufacturers are not obligated to let users flash their own linux kernel to their devices (tivoization). If linux would be GPL3 they had to allow that and we would probably see much less linux on consumer hardware these days.

    So, you both have to decide what license you release LDView under.

    Peter, Travis: what's your call?

     
  • Peter Bartfai
    Peter Bartfai
    2013-07-08

    GPLv3 must be a typo in PKGBUILD. I will fix it.