[Bug localedata/11213] localedata licencing issues

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[Bug localedata/11213] localedata licencing issues

macro@linux-mips.org
http://sourceware.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=11213

--- Comment #22 from help at softwarefreedom dot org 2012-07-16 18:49:21 UTC ---
On 07/15/2012 09:13 PM, Jonathan Nieder wrote:

> Hi Keld,
>
> Keld Simonsen wrote[1]:
>
>> Hmm, I contributed a number of locales. I always assumed that there was a
>> copyright to each of them.
>> I do hold a masters in legislate law.
> [lots of helpful background snipped, including the intent of the
> original notice]
>
> Thanks much for this.  I'm cc-ing the SFLC since I'm not sure they
> automatically receive mails to that bug tracker.
>
> My guess is that the FSF's concerns that prompted the "this type of
> thing isn't copyrightable" answer were USA-centric.  If I remember
> correctly, in some jurisdictions outside the United States, the
> eligibility of a work for copyright is based on the amount of work put
> into it (as you remind me), while in the United States it's based on a
> concept of creativity.
>
> (For the curious: I personally would be happiest if the FSF would
> continue not to care about these works' copyright while everyone else
> would consider them as possibly copyrighted.  That way there is no
> need for copyright assignment --- less paperwork! --- but there would
> be no excuse not to follow the usual free software practice of
> documenting the explicit permission grants the authors provide.)
>
> Jonathan
>
> [1] http://sourceware.org/PR11213#c14


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--- Comment #23 from help at softwarefreedom dot org 2012-07-16 18:50:21 UTC ---
On 07/15/2012 03:04 PM, Jonathan Nieder wrote:

> Hi Eben et al,
>
> Petr Baudis wrote:
>
>> I'm sorry, I didn't realize the presence of this bug earlier. We have made some
>> research regarding this on the mailing list some time ago and this is currently
>> the opinion of FSF on the matter:
>>
>>   http://sourceware.org/ml/libc-locales/2012-q2/msg00136.html
>>
>> I.e., locale data is not copyrightable, therefore it cannot be covered by any
>> licence and that is also the reason we do not require copyright assignment
>> paperwork from the locale authors.
>>
>> If you (e.g. Debian project) disagree, I encourage you to contact
>> [hidden email] or SFLC for further discussions. For us developers,
>> this situation really is the best outcome since no paperwork is needed, I'd
>> say. My opinion is that the outcome of this bug should be removal of licence
>> notices (and "copyright" notices) from all localedata files to clear up any
>> possible confusion - comments?
>
> Legal question for you.
>
> Along with everything else it contains, the GNU C library provides a
> collection of locale data.  Localedata files include basic information
> about how programs should interact with users in a particular area:
> currency symbols, paper size, which encoding to use for text files,
> translations for "yes" and "no", and other details like that.  You can
> find the glibc locales in the localedata/locales directory of glibc:
>
>   http://sourceware.org/git/?p=glibc.git;a=tree;f=localedata/locales
>
> For example, the English locale for the United States is available
> from the following address.
>
>   http://sourceware.org/git/?p=glibc.git;a=blob_plain;f=localedata/locales/en_US
>
> Since this is mostly factual information without much creative
> content, no one paid much mind to its license.  Many locales permit
> use, distribution, and commercial use without permitting modification:
>
> # Distribution and use is free, also for
> # commercial purposes.
>
> Most notably, the POSIX locale contains that notice.  Some are more
> philosophical:
>
> % Distribution and use is
>
> Josh Triplett (cc-ed) noticed this in 2009 and reported it to the
> Debian project[1].
>
> We are concerned that although these files do not contain much
> creative content, they do contain some, for example in their comments.
> We are generally not lawyers and do not know what does and doesn't
> fall under copyright protection in the United States and elsewhere.
> It is important for it to be very clear to both us and our users what
> their rights are.
>
> Helge (cc-ed) has taken a survey of authors of locales with the notice
> that doesn't permit modification to find what license terms they
> intend.  Some findings:
>
>  - many locale authors expected that, as part of glibc, these
>    would have the same license as glibc (LGPL-2.1+)
>
>  - they did not intend to forbid modification, and the notice was
>    propagated from the POSIX locale by copy and paste.
>
>  - when asked what terms they would like going forward for their work,
>    most prefer "public domain", followed by LGPL and GPL.
>
> You can find a summary of Helge's efforts at [2], and the actual
> emails are at [1].
>
> Unlike most of glibc, the FSF has not historically required copyright
> assignment for these files.  Independently of the above investigation,
> they were recently asked about and reaffirmed this position[3]:
>
> Well that was fast. The SFLC said that this type of thing isn't copyrightable, and that
> paperwork isn't really necessary. So we should be good to go. Thank you so much for all your
> help.
>
> Questions:
>
>  - Some locales (namely km_KH, lo_LA, th_TH, and uk_UA) contain
>    copyright notices.  Are we legally permitted to remove the
>    notices or to change them to say "Authors: ..."?
>
>  - Suppose I wanted to add the text "You may freely use, modify,
>    distribute, and relicense this file" to each of the locale data
>    files, to make it completely clear that users are free to
>    incorporate text from them into differently licensed works.  Would
>    that be legally permissible?  Would it be accurate?  Is there any
>    reason not to do it?
>
>  - When locale authors have stated a preferred license, is there value
>    in documenting that, or would it be counterproductive?
>
>  - If the legal heir to some author of many locales wants to be really
>    nasty, what is the worst they can do on the basis of this
>    contribution?
>
> Thanks in advance for looking this over.
>
> Sincerely,
> Jonathan
>
> [1] http://bugs.debian.org/555168
> [2] http://www.helgefjell.de/debianitem.php?name=bug555168
> [3] http://sourceware.org/ml/libc-locales/2012-q2/msg00136.html

The Software Freedom Law Center has received an email from you sent to
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--- Comment #24 from help at softwarefreedom dot org 2012-07-16 18:50:27 UTC ---
On 07/16/2012 04:55 AM, Keld Simonsen wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 08:13:31PM -0500, Jonathan Nieder wrote:
>> Hi Keld,
>>
>> Keld Simonsen wrote[1]:
>>
>>> Hmm, I contributed a number of locales. I always assumed that there was a
>>> copyright to each of them.
>>> I do hold a masters in legislate law.
>> [lots of helpful background snipped, including the intent of the
>> original notice]
>>
>> Thanks much for this.  I'm cc-ing the SFLC since I'm not sure they
>> automatically receive mails to that bug tracker.
>>
>> My guess is that the FSF's concerns that prompted the "this type of
>> thing isn't copyrightable" answer were USA-centric.  If I remember
>> correctly, in some jurisdictions outside the United States, the
>> eligibility of a work for copyright is based on the amount of work put
>> into it (as you remind me), while in the United States it's based on a
>> concept of creativity.
>
> I claim that there is a lot of creativity in how the locales are written, at least
> the big ones.  As said one of my intial works were 100 pages of the POSIX.2 standard.
> And then the locales grew even further, with the advent of full ISO 10646 (Unicode)
> coverage and ISO TR 14652 extra categories.  There is a lot of design and ideas,
> and a lot of design criteria in the locales. Including a number of theoretical landmarks,
> and something that could have been patentetd, if somebody were inclined to do such nasty things:-)
> And IMHO that has resulted in a system that still has a number of advantages over
> what big players in the market have done for i18n.
>
> And then there is compilation copyright according to the Berne convention - maybe you
> don't hold copyright on the data, but you hold copyright on the presentation on it and the
> collection of the combination of the data.
>
> I would say in juridical terms it would not be safe to assume that there is no copyright on
> the locales (and charmaps and repertoiremaps).
>
> Best regards
> keld


The Software Freedom Law Center has received an email from you sent to
[hidden email].  We look forward to helping you in any way we
can, but before we can do that we need to make sure that you understand
that your email to us does not create an attorney-client relationship
with us and any information you send us will not be considered
confidential or privileged.  If you understand that, just reply to this
message by keeping the text of this paragraph and adding "Understood"
and we will respond to your email shortly.  However, if your message
contains any information that you would like to be considered
confidential or privileged (in other words, you do not want it to be
considered public information), please respond to this message with
"Delete my message" or just "Delete."  We understand that this procedure
may seem burdensome, but it is required by law in order to ensure your
rights and the rights of our clients are protected.

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