[Rd] Citation if copying R base code

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Thu Nov 6 16:05:48 CET 2014

On 06/11/2014 9:49 AM, Hadley Wickham wrote:
> > Theoretically you could ask the copyright holder of that piece of code
> > whether he/she/it allows you to use a different license. This brings up
> > another question: who is formally the copyright holder of the R source code
> > (and documentation)? The R Foundation, the individual who contributed the
> > code in the first place, or someone else? You could certainly imagine a
> > case where a piece of code was donated to R by someone, e.g. the code
> > originates from a user-contributed package and has not been modified since.
> > It may even be that that code was licensed under another license at the
> > time.
> Unless a contributor signs a contributor license agreement, the
> copyright belongs to the original author.  I don't think that the
> R-foundation is in the practice of requiring these, so the the
> copyright of R itself will be a mismash of many different people. This
> is can be seen as a good thing because it makes it impossible to
> re-license code away from the GPL.

Yes, that's right.  We often enter lines like

Copyright (C) 1997--2014  The R Core Team

into the sources, but I suspect that those don't legally imply a 
copyright transfer, at least where I live.

Duncan Murdoch

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