On Mon, 17 Mar 2014, Markus Koschany wrote:
I disagree with your assumptions of the term "public domain". The whole
reason for granting a work to the public domain is to waive any form of
copyright. Public domain works can also be freely used in derivative
works, non-free or free. By creating the jdom2 software such a
derivative work was created and the jdom2 license rightfully covers this
new work.

Despite waiving any copyright, nobody but the owner can change the public domain status of the work. PD works can be used by others, but nobody has the right to change the PD status and apply a license to it. This can be done only with derivative work. It is definitely no derivative work if you put something together with something else. A derivative work needs to have some substantial changes. So all files under PD won't have the jdom2 license. Thus they must be mentioned seperately in debian/copyright.

Please also note that the Hamlet text by Shakespeare is not
copyrightable under German law since Shakespeare died more than 70 years

My PD example should only show that the PD status is not as easy as you think. I didn't want to apply it to this package. Btw. the file in question is not the original work from Shakespeare but the digital version or the SGML/XML version in this package made by somebody else.

   For what it's worth there is no indication that the developers of
jdom2 are not allowed to incorporate this text under the same license as
documented in debian/copyright.

They can incorporate the file without question and distribute everything.
Nevertheless the file is still PD and not under the jdom2 license.

I could only imagine that someone might add a comment to
debian/copyright with the clarification written above. The severity of
such a request would either be wishlist or minor.

No, of course not. debian/copyright shall contain all information (copyright holder, licenses, any other status) of any file in the source tarball. If something is missing, this is definitely a policy violation.

The files catalog.xml, catalog.xsl contain:
   A simple XML file from Elliotte Rusty Harold's talk at SD 2000 East
I don't see any evidence that upstream is allowed to change the license
of the original work or that upstream created a derivative work. So
upstreams license does not apply to these files.

I cannot find a license that differs from the one upstream uses.

So please show me where you found the license from the original author. If you don't find such license, then the author still holds all rights and Debian has no permission to distribute the file. In this case please remove it from the package. Do you want me to file another severe bug for this?

Debian policy also says that the copyright file "_should_ name the
original authors". I agree that a mention of Elliotte Rusty Harold would
be an improvement but I still don't see any reason why this issue should
be release critical.

In case a file is not distributable due to problems with the license, it has to be removed from the archive. Do you really think that has nothing todo with the release?

Upstream just states that their own license is _similar_ to the Apache

But this is not true. It is similar to an ancient version. It is by far not similar to what is nowadays called "Apache license". But this is bean counting and has nothing todo with the real problem.

I can only come to the conclusion that the correct severity of this bug
report should be either wishlist or minor. There is no policy violation.

Ok, I admit that I am not a writer and my wording might be ambigious sometimes. So please tell me what you didn't understand so far. Maybe you want to refresh your memory by looking at some articles in the Wikipedia?


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