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Re: Copyyear statement astonishing to me

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: Copyyear statement astonishing to me
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2018 17:01:03 -0500

   If one file of a package got changes that result in a new copyright  
   than only the package as a whole is also newly copyrighted at the same  

Yes.  As from the GNU maintainer guide (note the assumption on making
the work public via a public version control server):

  To update the list of year numbers, add each year in which you have
  made nontrivial changes to the package.  (Here we assume you’re using
  a publicly accessible revision control server, so that every
  revision installed is also immediately and automatically published.)
  When you add the new year, it is not required to keep track of which
  files have seen significant changes in the new year and which have
  not.  It is recommended and simpler to add the new year to all files
  in the package, and be done with it for the rest of the year.

  Don’t delete old year numbers, though; they are significant since
  they indicate when older versions might theoretically go into the
  public domain, if the movie companies don’t continue buying laws to
  further extend copyright.  If you copy a file into the package from
  some other program, keep the copyright years that come with the

So the rule is (for projects hosted on publicialy accessible VCS), if
you make a non-trivial change (adding a file from another project
would be such a change) in the new year, add the new year to all the
files.  What about this do you still find confusing?

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