Contribution to Extras (an update)

Ralf Corsepius rc040203 at
Mon Apr 17 12:10:33 UTC 2006

On Mon, 2006-04-17 at 11:14 +0200, Hans de Goede wrote:
> Ralf Corsepius wrote:
> > On Sun, 2006-04-16 at 10:28 -0700, Wart wrote:
> > 
> >> FWIW, the Games SIG has an additional packaging guideline that requires
> >> license files for games to always be included. 
> > What for? This is non-sense.
> > 
> > The licensing situation of a package depends on much more then a
> > "detached license file". I regret to say this, but you guys are trying
> > to over-engineer an issue you apparently are not sufficiently qualified
> > for.
> > 
> Erm,
> Shooting from the hip again Ralph. Precisely because games sometime can
> come with pretty dodgy licenses we have added this requirement.
The point is: This requirement is legal non-sense and probably void.

If you had checked with competent persons you'd have noticed, that
certain circles in the US legal system consider detached license files
to be void in general.

One party sharing this opinion is the FSF (contact Eben Moglen if you
want a definitive answer).

>  Also I
> for one say that you are partly right, this should really be in the
> standard Packaging Guidelines.

This would be very restrictive and IMSHO is complete non-sense:

Most non-trivial packages aren't covered by "one license", but are
covered my many different licenses, covering different parts of a
package, covering different aspects of a package (sources, run-time,
files, contents)

>  Packages should always include the
> license unless they are sub-packages in which case the main package
> should always include the license.
This is your personal preference. It's legally irrelevant and can't be
enforced. If developers chose not to follow your personal preference,
there is nothing you can do. 

If you add such a license file to satisfy your personal preference, this
either means relicensing the original software, therefore makes you
liable for the package and for potentially breaking licenses/copyrights,
or it is "just informative" and irrelevant. 


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