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Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2023 06:39:15 +0100
From: Markus Wichmann <>
Subject: Re: Copyright years

On Mon, Jan 09, 2023 at 03:17:02AM -0500, Rich Felker wrote:
> While everyone is doing the "update the copyright year range" ritual,
> I noticed we're a few years behind on this, but also that there seems
> to be a new consensus that years are not needed in copyright notices.
> If there are no strong objections I'd like to just go ahead and remove
> the years from ours rather than bumping it.

To my knowledge, the copyright notices are entirely unnecessary. Post
Berne convention, you get copyright of a work by virtue of being its
author, and remain owner of the copyright until you assign it to someone
else, or else the protection period elapses. However, the protection
period's clock doesn't even start ticking until you kick the bucket, so
that is a very small concern.

The Berne convention is not immediately binding law, but it has been
codified into national copyright laws, which is why all of them say very
similar things. And all copyright laws I'm aware of state the same thing
about authorship and co-authorship. Everyone who has contributed to musl
is a co-author and therefore co-owner of the copyright.

The US has copyright registration, but it is not necessary to register a
work to gain copyright. Rather, registration is a prerequisite for a
lawsuit for copyright infringement. And in such a lawsuit, the plaintiff
gets statutory damages only if the infringement occurred after
registration.  This is only in the US, however, and other states do not
necessarily have a comparable system.

Therefore the copyright notice serves little purpose beyond naming the
author, but you have a separate complete list of authors. So as far as
I'm concerned, you may as well remove it entirely.


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