Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev-announce

From: Ulrich Mueller <ulm@g.o>
To: gentoo-dev-announce@l.g.o, gentoo-project@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev-announce] [RFC] GLEP 76: Copyright Policy [v2]
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2018 17:44:38
In Reply to: [gentoo-dev-announce] [RFC] GLEP 76: Copyright Policy by Ulrich Mueller
1 >>>>> On Sun, 10 Jun 2018, Ulrich Mueller wrote:
3 > Please find below the draft of a new copyright policy, which was in
4 > the making since 2013 at least. After several iterations, we have
5 > come up with a policy with the following key elements:
7 > - Gentoo projects must release their work under GPL-compatible free
8 > software licenses, preferably under GPL-2 or later. CC-BY-SA-3.0
9 > (or 4.0) can be used for documentation.
11 > - All commits to Gentoo repositories must be accompanied by a
12 > certificate of origin. Typically, this would be declared by adding
13 > a "Signed-off-by:" line (or several of them) to every commit.
14 > This model is very similar to the one used for development of the
15 > Linux kernel.
17 > - The copyright notice, especially for ebuilds, will contain the
18 > name of the largest contributor, plus an "and others" clause when
19 > necessary. (So the "Copyright Gentoo Foundation" lines will be
20 > phased out.)
22 Find an updated version below, taking input from IRC and mailing lists
23 into consideration. The main changes are:
25 - Take into account that some assets (like images) won't allow for
26 a copyright notice in the file itself.
27 - Don't rely on line counting, but state that the main copyright
28 holder must be listed.
29 - Allow for a simplified form of the copyright notice, attributing
30 copyright to "The Gentoo Authors".
32 The source of the GLEP can be found at [1] (or included below);
33 the rendered version is at [2].
35 Ulrich
37 [1] ReST:
38 [2] HTML:
41 ---
42 GLEP: 76
43 Title: Copyright Policy
44 Author: Richard Freeman <rich0@g.o>,
45 Alice Ferrazzi <alicef@g.o>,
46 Ulrich Müller <ulm@g.o>,
47 Robin H. Johnson <robbat2@g.o>,
48 Michał Górny <mgorny@g.o>
49 Type: Informational
50 Status: Draft
51 Version: 1
52 Created: 2013-04-23
53 Last-Modified: 2018-06-17
54 Post-History: 2018-06-10, 2018-06-19
55 Content-Type: text/x-rst
56 ---
59 Status
60 ======
62 The policies on this page have no effect! These are draft policies up
63 for discussion, not final versions.
66 Abstract
67 ========
69 This GLEP introduces a copyright and licensing policy for Gentoo
70 projects. It requires all contributions of software or documentation
71 to be released under a free license, and to be accompanied by a
72 certificate of origin.
75 Motivation
76 ==========
78 The copyright ownership of Gentoo materials is ambiguous due to
79 historical factors, and this GLEP attempts to improve the process
80 going forward.
82 In the beginning (2000 or earlier), the copyright header stated that
83 *Gentoo Technologies, Inc.* was the copyright holder, without any
84 formal paperwork. The formal assignment document was however only
85 introduced in early 2004. The assignment had many objectors (mostly
86 on the ``gentoo-core`` mailing list). The developer recruiting
87 procedures attempted to require signing of the document as a condition
88 for becoming a developer, but it was not applied to pre-existing
89 developers, or those that objected.
91 Later, the *Gentoo Foundation* was established, and copyrights were
92 formally transferred (including nullifying original developer
93 assignments to *Gentoo Technologies, Inc.*), and the copyright header
94 was updated. The formal assignment document text was updated in 2006,
95 but the formal assignment process had already been abandoned in
96 mid-2004.
98 Throughout this, the presence of copyright headers existed as a
99 policy, and continues to exist to this day. Some files also still
100 contain or have in the past contained additional copyright headers,
101 attributing ownership to other parties.
103 The policy to have copyright notices ascribing copyright ownership to
104 the Gentoo Foundation caused an issue when Gentoo developers forked
105 another project and hosted the fork on Gentoo infrastructure. To
106 comply with the previous policy the copyright notices were modified,
107 which caused concerns with the project the files were forked from.
108 Our previous policy completely neglected the possibility that Gentoo
109 might want to host files that were not created internally.
111 Finally, since the early days of Gentoo new ideas around copyright
112 licensing have become more popular, such as the FSFE's Fiduciary
113 License Agreement [#FLA]_, which takes a copyleft approach to
114 copyright licensing, while also better complying with copyright laws
115 in nations that have author's rights.
117 The goal here was to create a policy that was flexible enough to cover
118 forks and situations where Gentoo would not own the majority of the
119 copyright in a file.
122 Specification
123 =============
125 Purpose / Scope
126 ---------------
128 This policy documents how Gentoo contributors comply and document
129 copyright for any contributions made to Gentoo. Anyone committing
130 documentation or sources to any repository hosted on Gentoo
131 infrastructure or to any official Gentoo project (independently
132 of hosting) must comply with this policy. Unofficial Gentoo projects
133 are also recommended to use this policy.
135 Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the trustees or
136 the -project list. Any concerns over possible copyright violations
137 should be directed to the Trustees if they cannot be worked out to
138 anyone's satisfaction with the appropriate maintainer.
141 Licensing of Gentoo Projects
142 ----------------------------
144 Every Gentoo project must abide by the Gentoo Social Contract
145 [#SOCIAL-CONTRACT]_ and release its work under one or more of the
146 following:
148 a) The GNU General Public License, version 2 or later (GPL-2+)
149 [#GPL-2]_.
151 b) The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License
152 (CC-BY-SA-3.0, only for documentation) [#CC-BY-SA-3.0]_.
153 *[Note: or version 4.0, to be decided]*
155 c) A license approved as GPL compatible by the Free Software
156 Foundation [#GPL-COMPAT]_.
158 Exceptions for other free software licenses will be granted by the
159 Gentoo Foundation on a case by case basis.
161 For easy reference, the license for each project should be documented
162 on the wiki page at [#PROJECTS]_.
165 Certificate of Origin
166 ---------------------
168 All commits to Gentoo project repositories shall be accompanied by a
169 certificate of origin. The purpose of the certificate is to declare
170 that the contribution can be modified and redistributed in accordance
171 with the project's license.
173 For commits made using a VCS, the committer shall certify agreement
174 to the Gentoo DCO by adding ``Signed-off-by: Name <e-mail>`` to the
175 commit message as a separate line. Committers must use their real
176 name, i.e., the name that would appear in an official document like
177 a passport.
179 The following is the current Gentoo DCO::
181 Gentoo Developer's Certificate of Origin, revision 1
183 By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:
185 (1) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me, and I have
186 the right to submit it under the free software license indicated
187 in the file; or
189 (2) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best
190 of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate free software
191 license, and I have the right under that license to submit that
192 work with modifications, whether created in whole or in part by
193 me, under the same free software license (unless I am permitted
194 to submit under a different license), as indicated in the file; or
196 (3) The contribution is a license text (or a file of similar nature),
197 and verbatim distribution is allowed; or
199 (4) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other person
200 who certified (1), (2), (3), or (4), and I have not modified it.
202 I understand and agree that this project and the contribution are
203 public and that a record of the contribution (including all personal
204 information I submit with it, including my sign-off) is maintained
205 indefinitely and may be redistributed consistent with this project or
206 the free software license(s) involved.
208 The Gentoo DCO is licensed under a Creative Commons
209 Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License [#CC-BY-SA-3.0]_.
210 It is based on the Linux Kernel DCO [#OSDL-DCO]_, released by Open
211 Source Development Labs, Inc. in 2005 under a CC-BY-SA-2.5 License.
214 Copyright Attribution
215 ---------------------
217 All copyrightable files included in Gentoo projects must contain
218 appropriate copyright and license notices, as defined by this policy.
219 For files in textual format, these notices normally appear near the
220 top of the file. When technical limitations do not allow for text
221 notices in the file itself (e.g., for binary image file formats),
222 copyright and license can be stated in an accompanying text file in
223 the same directory.
225 A proper copyright notice reads::
229 It must list the main copyright holder, who is usually the original
230 author, or the contributor holding copyright to the largest portion
231 of the file. Additional copyright holders can be listed, but this is
232 normally not required. The "and others" text may be omitted if the
233 explicitly listed contributors hold copyright to the entire file.
235 Anyone finding a file out of compliance should file a bug against the
236 associated project/package providing as much information as possible.
237 Files that are not brought into compliance within 60 days or upon a
238 request for removal by a aggrieved copyright holder will be removed.
239 Any concerns not addressed by a maintainer can be appealed to the
240 Trustees.
243 Simplified Attribution
244 ----------------------
246 Alternatively, projects are welcome to use a simplified form of the
247 copyright notice, which reads::
249 Copyright YEARS The Gentoo Authors
251 Projects using this scheme must track authorship in a VCS, unless they
252 list all authors of copyrightable contributions in an ``AUTHORS`` file.
255 Rationale
256 =========
258 Policy
259 ------
261 This document aims to provide a single consistent copyright policy for
262 all Gentoo projects. It is explicitly enforced for all official Gentoo
263 projects in order to protect the interests of Gentoo as a whole,
264 including its contributors, developers and users. Additionally, it is
265 enforced for all other projects hosted on Gentoo infrastructure in order
266 to protect the Gentoo infrastructure owners and improve consistency.
268 The copyright model is built on the DCO model used by the Linux kernel
269 and requires all contributors to certify the legitimacy of their
270 contributions. This also requires that they use their real name for
271 signing; an anonymous certification or one under a pseudonym would not
272 mean anything.
274 In the future, a second stage of this policy may use a combination of
275 the DCO model and an FLA model [#FLA]_ as it is used by different open
276 source projects. Contributors would be able to freely choose whether
277 they sign the FLA document or not.
280 Licensing of Projects
281 ---------------------
283 The Social Contract mentions GPL-2 and CC-BY-SA-2.0, both with the
284 option to use them in a later version ("at our discretion"). In order
285 to facilitate interchange of software between different projects, we
286 aim for uniformity of their licensing. Therefore, items a) and b)
287 explicitly recommend the use of GPL-2+ and CC-BY-SA-3.0. The latter
288 is restricted to be used for documentation, because Creative Commons
289 themselves recommend against using their licenses for software
290 [#CC-SOFTWARE]_.
292 Other GPL-compatible free software licenses that are not explicitly
293 listed are allowed by item c). This covers cases where compatibility
294 to licenses used by upstream projects is necessary. (For example,
295 the Gentoo BSD project may want to use the 2-clause or 3-clause BSD
296 license).
298 By default, GPL-incompatible licenses (e.g., the CDDL) are not
299 allowed, because their use would hinder interchange of code between
300 Gentoo projects. However, the Foundation can grant exceptions to
301 this, as long as the license in question is a free software or open
302 source license.
305 DCO Changes
306 -----------
308 The Gentoo DCO rev. 1 has been based on Linux Kernel DCO 1.1
309 [#OSDL-DCO]_. It features the following modifications from
310 the original:
312 1. The enumeration has been modified to use numeric points.
314 2. Additional point (3) has been inserted::
316 (3) The contribution is a license text (or a file of similar nature),
317 and verbatim distribution is allowed; or
319 3. The original point (c) has shifted to become point (4), and has been
320 updated to account for the additional point (3).
322 4. The original point (d) has been transformed into a stand-alone
323 paragraph following the enumeration.
325 5. The term "open source" has been replaced by "free software"
326 throughout.
328 The new point was deemed necessary to allow committing license files
329 into the Gentoo repository, since those files usually do not permit
330 modification. It has been established that adding a clear provision
331 for this case is better than excluding those commits from DCO
332 compliance. Debian was facing a similar problem [#DEBIAN-LICENSE]_.
334 The update of point (c) was necessary to allow the new clause being
335 certified by the person providing the contribution.
337 The term "free software" is used for consistency with the language
338 of the Gentoo Social Contract [#SOCIAL-CONTRACT]_.
340 The remaining changes were merely editorial. It has been established
341 that the last point is really separate from the other points, so it is
342 more appropriate to separate it from the enumeration by putting it
343 in a separate paragraph.
346 Copyright Notice
347 ----------------
349 Especially for ebuild repositories, constantly keeping track of the
350 main copyright holder of any file would be rather inconvenient and
351 tedious. Therefore, projects are free to use either a traditional
352 copyright notice listing the individual author(s), or a simplified
353 notice with an attribution to "The Gentoo Authors". The latter
354 resembles the scheme used by the Chromium project [#CHROMIUM]_.
357 Acknowledgements
358 ================
360 Many people have participated in invaluable discussions on this GLEP.
361 In particular, the authors would like to thank David Abbott,
362 Roy Bamford, Kristian Fiskerstrand, Andreas K. Hüttel, Manuel Rüger,
363 Matija Šuklje, Matthew Thode, and Alec Warner for their input.
366 References
367 ==========
369 .. [#SOCIAL-CONTRACT] Gentoo Social Contract,
372 .. [#GPL-2] GNU General Public License, version 2 or later,
375 .. [#CC-BY-SA-3.0] Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0
376 Unported License,
378 .. [#GPL-COMPAT] GPL-compatible free software licenses,
381 .. [#PROJECTS] Licensing of Gentoo projects,
384 .. [#OSDL-DCO] Developer's Certificate of Origin 1.1,
387 .. [#FLA] FSFE Legal: Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA),
390 .. [#CC-SOFTWARE] Can I apply a Creative Commons license to software?
393 .. [#DEBIAN-LICENSE] [debian-legal] License of the GPL license,
396 .. [#CHROMIUM] Chromium: Contributing Code,
400 Copyright
401 =========
403 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0
404 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Subject Author
[gentoo-dev-announce] [RFC] GLEP 76: Copyright Policy [v3] Ulrich Mueller <ulm@g.o>