Copyright years in source code

Sanjeev Gupta ghane0 at
Wed May 6 05:41:42 UTC 2020

(cc: to devel at ntpsec)


Over at the NTPsec project (whose developer community intersects with
gpsd's) they have scrubbed the Copyright Year from the "Form of Notice".

-* Copyright (c) University of Delaware 1992-2015                      *
+* Copyright University of Delaware                                    *


- * Copyright (c) 1997-2005 by Frank Kardel <kardel <AT>>
- * Copyright 2015 by the NTPsec project contributors
+ * Copyright Frank Kardel <kardel <AT>>
+ * Copyright the NTPsec project contributors

The discussion is here:

I have been researching this issue, and I have been unable to find any
chinks in Mark Atwood's (short) argument in favour.

Further factors:

   - As GitLab and are both in the USA, the Berne Convention
   designates the US as the "Country of Origin".
   - The US Copyright Office is clear that for works after 1989, the Notice
   of Copyright is optional, and not required.  It does give examples of what
   the Form should be.
   - 178 countries are signatories to the Berne Convention, and both the
   UCC and the BAC are effectively obsolete
   - For the dozen-odd countries who are not signatories, they are members
   of WTO, which requires acceptance of Berne.

I can think of one reason to keep the years, it enables me to look at a
document and see if it was last revised this year or 10 years ago.  But
since this is visible only in the source (the man pages and web pages are
rebuilt fresh), and since anyone with source would be able to do a 'git
log' or 'git blame', I am not sure is this is a concern.

If there is no objection, I would like to scrub out the years from the Form
of Copyright.  This will be manual, not scripted, to ensure that names and
emails do not get mangled.

Sanjeev Gupta
+65 98551208
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