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The policies on this page have no effect! These are draft policies up for discussion, not final versions.

Gentoo Copyright Policy

version 1 alpa
Date 2016-11-14

This policy documents how Gentoo contributors comply and document copyright for any contributions made to Gentoo. Anyone committing documentation or sources to any repository hosted on Gentoo infrastructure must comply with this policy.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the trustees or the -project list. Any concerns over possible copyright violations should be directed to the Trustees if they cannot be worked out to anyone's satisfaction with the appropriate maintainer.

Licensing of Gentoo Projects

Every Gentoo project must abide by the Gentoo Social Contract and release its work under one or more of the following:

  1. The GNU General Public License, version 2 or later (GPL-2+).
  2. The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License (CC-BY-SA-3.0, only for documentation). [Note: or version 4.0, to be decided]
  3. A license approved as GPL compatible by the Free Software Foundation.

Exceptions for other free software licenses will be granted by the Gentoo Foundation on a case by case basis.

For easy reference, the license for each project should be documented at Project:Licenses/Licensing of Gentoo projects.

Gentoo Developer's Certificate of Origin

All commits to Gentoo-hosted repositories shall be accompanied by a certificate of origin. The purpose of the certificate is to declare that the contribution can be modified and redistributed in accordance with the project's license.

For commits made using a VCS, the committer shall certify agreement to the Gentoo DCO by adding Signed-off-by: Name <e-mail> to the commit message as a separate line.

The following is the current Gentoo DCO 1.0:

    Gentoo Developer's Certificate of Origin 1.0

    By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:

    (a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me, and I have
        the right to submit it under the free software license indicated
        in the file; or

    (b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best
        of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate free software
        license, and I have the right under that license to submit that
        work with modifications, whether created in whole or in part by
        me, under the same free software license (unless I am permitted
        to submit under a different license), as indicated in the file; or

    (c) The contribution is a license text (or a file of similar nature),
        and verbatim distribution is allowed; or

    (d) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other person
        who certified (a), (b), (c), or (d), and I have not modified it.

    I understand and agree that this project and the contribution are
    public and that a record of the contribution (including all personal
    information I submit with it, including my sign-off) is maintained
    indefinitely and may be redistributed consistent with this project or
    the free software license(s) involved.

The Gentoo DCO is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is based on the Linux Kernel DCO, released by Open Source Development Labs, Inc. in 2005 under a CC-BY-SA-2.5 License, and distributed by the Linux Foundation as part of the kernel source tree under GPL-2.

Special license

All files hosted by Gentoo must contain an appropriate copyright notice, as defined by this policy.

A proper copyright notice appears near the top of the file, and reads, "Copyright YEAR LARGEST-CONTRIBUTOR and others (see below)." The largest contributor is whatever entity owns copyright to some portion of the largest number of lines in the file. The "and others (see below)" text may be omitted if the largest contributor holds copyright to the entire file.

If there are other copyright holders, then somewhere in the file the full list of copyright holders must be listed, or a reference to a list in another file stored in a Gentoo repository.

No file may be committed to a Gentoo repository unless at least 60% of the lines in the file are accounted for in the list of copyright holders. Any content already in a Gentoo repository as of DATE shall count towards the 60% rule even if not attributed. Note that 60% is the minimum required for compliance with this policy - all contributors are strongly encouraged to strive for 100% attribution.

It is the responsibility of anyone making a commit to update the contributor list for any additions made to the repository. Committers are not required to double-check content already in the repository.

Anyone finding a file out of compliance should log a bug against the associated project/package providing as much information as possible. Files that are not brought into compliance within 60 days or upon a request for removal by a aggrieved copyright holder will be removed. Any concerns not addressed by a maintainer can be appealed to the Trustees.

Licensing to the Gentoo Foundation

All are welcome and encouraged (but NOT required) to assign copyright for their contributions to the Gentoo Foundation. Doing so makes compliance with this policy easier (fewer copyright holders to list), and allows the Foundation to enforce copyrights and re-license content if appropriate (this will only be done in accordance with the social contract and the FLA).

Copyright is assigned to the Foundation by electronically signing the Gentoo Fiduciary License Agreement (FLA).

The agreement may be signed BY
If the scope of the signed agreement included future contributions, the contributor may document their wish to stop assigning copyright by

A list of those who have signed this agreement and the scope of their assignments may be found at LINK. This list may be useful when attributing copyright.