SPDX-Copyright


Carmen Bianca Bakker
 

Hi spdx-legal,

I'm following up from a thread in linux-spdx[1] and a response to that
thread by Jilayne[2].

At this year's LLW in Barcelona, Max Mehl, Kate Stewart, Oliver Fendt,
Jeff McAffer and I got together to discuss some potential for
collaboration. Jeff brought up the idea of an "SPDX-Copyright" tag to
accompany the existing "SPDX-License-Identifier" tag. An issue[3] has
been opened on GitHub regarding this proposal, but Jilayne suggested
that this mailing list would also be interested in this change.

The shortest summary of this change is that this line:

Copyright 2019 Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. <https://fsfe.org>

can be expressed as:

SPDX-Copyright: 2019 Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. <https://fsfe.org>

The FSFE has an interest in this change via REUSE, because it would
make comment headers visually consistent and unambiguously parseable.
The ideal goal of REUSE is to get developers to put these kinds of
headers in every single file in their projects:

# SPDX-Copyright: 2019 Jane Doe <jane@...>
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-3.0-or-later

Potential advantages of this change are:

- It is visually consistent with the accompanying "SPDX-License-
Identifier" tag.

- It is trivially parseable, as opposed to using heuristics to figure
out whether a line starting with "Copyright" is a copyright notice.

- It could possibly have a strict syntax, though this is currently
debated in the issue.

- Together with the "SPDX-License-Identifier" tag, it allows one to
indicate the full copyright and licensing information of a file.

Knowing that some people will stick to existing convention (i.e.,
"Copyright [...]"), the proposed REUSE spec[4] allows both types of
copyright notices.

REUSE will not adopt this tag if SPDX turns down the proposal.

What are the thoughts of spdx-legal?

Yours with kindness,
Carmen

[1]: https://www.spinics.net/lists/linux-spdx/msg00688.html
[2]: https://www.spinics.net/lists/linux-spdx/msg01388.html
[3]: https://github.com/spdx/spdx-spec/issues/122
[4]: https://github.com/fsfe/reuse-docs/pull/23

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