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Some terminology:

A "copyright notice" consists of one or a few lines of this format:
"Copyright (C) 2006, 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc."

A "license notice" is a statement of permissions, and is usually much
longer, eg the text "GNU Emacs is free software...".

Every non-trivial file distributed through the Emacs CVS should be
self-explanatory in terms of copyright and license. This includes
files that are not distributed in Emacs releases (for example, the
admin/ directory), because the whole Emacs CVS is publicly

The definition of triviality is a little vague, but a rule of thumb is
that any file with less than 15 lines of actual content is trivial. If
a file is auto-generated (eg ldefs-boot.el) from another one in the
CVS, then it does not really matter about adding a copyright statement
to the generated file.

The years in the copyright notice should be updated every year (see
file "years" in this directory). The PS versions of refcards etc
should display copyright notices (an exception to the rule about
"generated" files), but these can just display the latest year. The
full list of years should be kept in comments in the source file. If
these are distributed in CVS, check in a regenerated version when the
tex files are updated.

Copyright changes should be propagated to any associated repositories
(eg Gnus, MH-E), but I think in every case this happens automatically

All README (and other such text files) that are non-trivial and were
added by Emacs developers need copyright and copying permission
statements (see eg INSTALL in the top-level directory).

All images files that allow for comments should have copyright and
license statements. Whether or not this is possible, the information
should be recorded in a README file in each directory with images.

When installing a file with an "unusual" license (after checking first
it is ok), put a copy of the copyright and license in the file (if
possible. It's ok if this makes the file incompatible with its
original format, if it can still be used by Emacs), or in a README
file in the relevant directory.

The vast majority of files are copyright FSF and distributed under the
GPL. A few files (mainly related to language and charset support) are
copyright AIST alone, or both AIST and FSF. (Contact Kenichi Handa
with questions about legal issues in such files.) In all these cases,
the copyright years in each file should be updated each year.

There are some exceptions to the points in the previous paragraph, and
these are listed below for reference, together with any files where
the copyright needs to be updated in "unusual" ways.

If you find any other such cases, please consult to check they are ok,
and note them in this file. This includes missing copyright notices,
and "odd" copyright holders. In most cases, individual authors should
not appear in copyright statements. Either the copyright has been
assigned (check copyright.list) to the FSF (in which case the original
author should be removed and the year(s) transferred to the FSF); or
else it is possible the file should not be in Emacs at all (please

[For reference, most of these points were established via email with
rms, 2007/1, "Copyright years".]

 - this file is copyright MIT, which is OK. Leave the copyright alone.

  - update BOTH notices in this file

leim/CXTERM-DIC/4Corner.tit, ARRAY30.tit, [CCDOSPY.tit], ECDICT.tit,
ETZY.tit, [PY-b5.tit], Punct-b5.tit, Punct.tit, QJ-b5.tit, QJ.tit,
[SW.tit, TONEPY.tit,] ZOZY.tit
  - leave the copyrights alone.

leim/MISC-DIC/CTLau-b5.html, CTLau.html, cangjie-table.b5, cangjie-table.cns,
[, ziranma.cin]
  - leave the copyright alone.

  (the latter is auto-generated from the former). Leave the copyright alone.

  - this has a copyright Ken Arnold. We are still deciding what should
  be done here (see below).

lib-src/getopt1.c, getopt_int.h
  - these are from the GNU C library. Leave the copyrights alone.

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  - no special rules about the copyright. We note here that we believe
  (2007/1) there is no problem with our use of the name "tetris" or
  the concept.
  rms: "My understanding is that game rules as such are not copyrightable."

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  - leave the copyright alone in this imported file.

  - there are also copyrights in the body of the file. Update these too.

msdos/is_exec.c, sigaction.c
  - these files are copyright DJ Delorie. Leave the copyrights alone.

   - contains numerous copyrights from the GNU C library. Leave them alone.

*** These are copyright issues still to be addressed:

All README (and other such files) that are non-trivial and were added
by Emacs developers need copyright statements and copying permissions
to be added.

All images files that allow for comments should have copyright and
license statements added. Whether or not this is possible, the
information should be recorded in a README file in each directory with

  Author is Martin Buchholz, but no assignment from him on file, and
  rms has no way to reach him.
admin/make-announcement - no copyright
admin/nt/makedist.bat - no copyright
etc/ms-kermit - no copyright, but ms-7bkermit has one
etc/e/eterm-color.ti  - no copyright
  rms: "I think that is not copyrightable under the merger doctrine
  because the entries are all forced. At least that is the case in the
  US; I am not sure whether we can rely on that in general."

For the above files, mail sent froam rms to Matthew (Martin?) Norwood
asking what to do (via Eben Moglen), 2007/1/22 ("Copyright years").

  I (rgm) think the "Gnus Bugfixing Girls + Boys" copyright should
  probably be removed, but it may be ok (waiting for rms)

etc/orgcard.tex - no Rooke in copyright.list
 rms will talk with Org mode author about this.

These refcards need to be regenerated (by those with suitable TeX
setups) to get updated copyrights.

leim/CXTERM-DIC/CCDOSPY.tit, PY-b5.tit, SW.tit, TONEPY.tit
leim/MISC-DIC/, ziranma.cin
 The copyright and license is stated in the README file, but we may as
 well copy them into the files themselves (possibly at the expense of
 making them incompatible with their original formats, but they will
 still be usable by Emacs). [Kenichi Handa]

lib-src/etags.c - no 'k.* arnold' in copyright.list'
 rms: "That is ok, in principle. I used free code released by Ken
 Arnold as the starting point. However, it may be that we need to get
 and insert whatever his license was for his code."

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lispref/back.texi, elisp-covers.texi, lay-flat.texi,
two-volume-cross-refs.txt, two.el
  - add standard notices to any decided to be non-trivial.

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lwlib/lwlib-int.h, lwlib.h - no copyright
lwlib/, lwlib-utils.c, lwlib.c - copyright Lucid
lwlib/lwlib-Xaw.c - copyright Chuck Thompson
lwlib/lwlib.c - copyright Lucid, but FSF copyright was added in 2002 -
   was that correct?
  rms: "I asked Matthew Norwood about these, I believe."

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man/back.texi, trampver.texi
  - add standard notices to any decided to be non-trivial.

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  - do we need to add COPYING.LIB (because COPYING.DJ refers to it)?

 - should there be any FSF copyrights at all in here? Some were added
   in 2005, without licence notices. Was this right?
oldXMenu/, Makefile, Imakefile, descrip.mms, insque.c
  - issues described in mail to rms, 2006/12/17.
rms: "I have asked for lawyer's advice about these."

src/acldef.h, chpdef.h, gnu.h, ndir.h
src/m/mips4.h, news-r6.h, news-risc.h, pmax.h
src/s/aix3-2.h, bsd386.h, hpux8.h, hpux9.h, irix4-0.h, irix5-0.h,
isc2-2.h, netbsd.h, osf1.h, sol2-3.h, sunos4-0.h, umips.h, usg5-4-2.h
  - all these (not obviously trivial) files are missing copyrights.
  rms: "I should talk about these with Matthew Norwood."