1. Tarek Ziadé
  2. hitchhiker-guide-packaging
  3. Issues
Issue #22 new

Better copyright and licensing information

Anonymous created an issue

Every project that's going to be published online needs to have very clear information on the project's license and copyright holders.

Right now, the documentation suggests creating a LICENSE.txt file. However, I feel this is not enough. Both licensing and copyright information needs to be included, to make it as easy as possible to change the license of the project in the future if need arose. The earlier copyright information is made clear, the less trouble it will cause later on.

At the root of the project, a file named COPYING (or COPYING.txt for Windows compatibility) should be found. The name COPYING implies more than just the license. It needs to include:

  • A list of all copyright holders, including their names, their contact details (usually just email addresses) and the years in which they hold copyright
  • The full contents of the license under which the project has been released.
  • If the project has been released under the GPL, the COPYING file should make it clear that the project has been released under the GPL version x or later (unless the authors only want to keep it to one specific version).

It's generally recommended that each source file would begin with a short comment reminding the reader of the license of the project.

Links to best practises in the open source world:

http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html#howto

http://www.gnu.org/prep/standards/standards.html

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