fortune-mod copyright status

James Wilkinson james at
Fri Mar 18 00:23:35 UTC 2005

Matthew Miller wrote:
> We have a bsd-games package, and it also includes fortune. We currently zap
> the fortune program from it so that it won't conflict with fortune-mod, but
> that seems kind of silly. Is there some huge advantage of the fortune-mod
> fortune program over the bsd-games one? 
> I'd kind of like to get bsd-games into Extras. In addition to 'adventure',
> 'wumpus', and 'robots', it contains a few actually-useful tiny utilities,
> like 'banner' and 'number', and of course vital-to-debugging 'pom'.
> Unless there's a big advantage to the forked fortune program, any reason to
> not just go to the bsd-games version?

This may not be the right place to ask this (where is?) but should
fortune be in Fedora anywhere, at least as it currently appears?

It was removed from RHL9 due to "unclear copyright status" (according to
the release notes). I haven't been able to find any evidence that there
has been a legal review of the package since.

I assumed that the "unclear copyright status" refers, at least in part,
to a number of the fortunes in songs-poems. Some of these appear to be
the entire words to songs or poems by twentieth-century writers.

I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect that those fortunes are not covered by
"fair use" or "fair dealing" in many jurisdictions. I can't find any
evidence that any copyright owners have given permission for the
package, and some of them may not be inclined to overlook copyright

Has Red Hat Legal reviewed the contents of the package?


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