On Mon, Sep 06, 2010 at 11:49:42AM -0400, Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
Every tarball should have a file in it that contains the license. Having that be a standard name like LICENSE.txt makes it really easy to find for people who are doing things like packaging Pd libraries for Debian. Also, the LICENSE.txt is there for the Pd user and is browsable from within the Pd Help Browser. Just like Debian users, Pd users should be able to find license information in a easy, standard way.

It is certainly a good thing for you as upstream to release your code with its licensing terms included.

Please beware, though, that licensing terms are worth *nothing* if not somehow tied to the code which is intended to be licensed by those terms - and simply adding a file containing licensing terms to a tarball also containing code files is *not* a close enough relation, I believe.

In other words, I believe you should license the code, not the tarball.

If some upstream code lack licensing statement or contains only a vague one, but its tarball contains a file named LICENSE.txt containing the GPLv2 license, I would treat that code as too vaguely licensed.

If an upstream tarball contains explicit licensing statements of being licensed as GNU General Public License version 2, and also refer to some file named LICENSE.txt but no such file exist in the tarball, then I would assume that the code is licensed by that license.

NB! I am not a lawyer, and do not even represent an "official" stand of Debian here, just a personal interpretation. For a more in-depth consideration from the viewpoint of Debian, I recommend to ask questions at the debian-le...@lists.debian.org rather than here :-)

Kind regards,

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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