Bug#550687: Source package contains non-free IETF RFC/I-D

Simon Josefsson simon at josefsson.org
Mon Oct 12 08:48:41 UTC 2009

Severity: serious
Package: libvorbis
Version: 1.2.3-2
User: debian-release at lists.debian.org
Usertags: nonfree-doc rfc


This source package contains the following files from the
IETF under non-free license terms:

+  libvorbis-1.2.3/doc/rfc5215.txt

Looking into the background here, it may be that the intention of the
author was to release the document under a free license since source
code for the document is included and the document author may be
involved with the project.  If that is true (needs to be confirmed) the
solution is to fix the debian/copyright file to mention the file and its
copyright status -- the file contains other copyright notices than the
ones mentioned in debian/copyright now.

The license on RFC/I-Ds is not DFSG-free, see:
 * http://bugs.debian.org/199810
 * http://release.debian.org/removing-non-free-documentation
 * http://wiki.debian.org/NonFreeIETFDocuments

The lenny/squeeze release policy says binary and source packages must each be free:
 * http://release.debian.org/lenny/rc_policy.txt
 * http://release.debian.org/squeeze/rc_policy.txt

The severity is serious, because this violates the Debian policy:
 * http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html#s-dfsg

There are (at least) three ways to fix this problem.  In order of

1. Ask the author of the RFC to re-license the RFC under a free
   license.  A template for this e-mail request can be found at

2. Remove the non-free material from the source, e.g., by re-packaging
   the upstream archive and adding 'dfsg' to the Debian package
   version name.

3. Move the package to non-free.

General discussions are kindly requested to take place on debian-legal
or debian-devel in the thread with Subject: "Non-free IETF RFC/I-Ds in
source packages".


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