On Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:03:18PM +1000, Justin Clift wrote:
Not sure this is a good idea. I asked RH Legal a while back
for the right text to use (something which includes
contributors), but haven't heard back from them.
I'll ping them again now.
So we've talked about this in the past, albeit without a lawyer. There
are several reasons that we thought it was okay.
One is that a copyright footer on a webpage normally indicates that the
*content* of the page is copyrighted. I worked for a hosted site before
coming here, and our copyright notice indicated that we owned the
content. Our stylesheets and whatnot had text at the top indicating that
they were also protected by copyright. But we're trying to use it in a
very different way, to indicate that the software powering the site is
covered by content, versus claiming copyright on a user's content (like
their list of pools or deployable files). It's ambiguous what it even
Additionally, at least in the US, copyright is to be assumed. If you
write a crappy poem, it's covered by copyright automatically. You don't
have to explicitly claim it to be protected. Moreover, every single file
in our project that contains source code has a header added claiming
copyright. So it's very hard to miss if you were actually going to try
to violate our copyright.
Third, outside of web apps, there is little precedent for the "display a
copyright warning on every single view of the application" pattern. I
presently have open Firefox, xchat, bash, vim, GNOME Terminal, Nautilus,
and mutt. Not a single one is displaying a copyright notice. That has no
bearing on whether they are copyrighted.
Of course, I am not a lawyer, and not even terribly well-versed in law,
so all of this is nothing but my personal opinion. But I think that
asking what phrasing is best for a copyright statement is a very
different question from, "Must we include a copyright statement in the
footer of every single page of our application for our application to be
protected by copyright?".