[Rd] Citation if copying R base code

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Thu Nov 6 16:26:05 CET 2014

On 06/11/2014 10:05 AM, Peter Meissner wrote:
> But how might I do that?
> Writing GPL in DESCRIPTION and putting my name in every R-file?

You should probably choose a version to be unambiguous, e.g. use "GPL-2 
| GPL-3".  There's a section on this in "Writing R Extensions".

The files that you write can contain a copyright notice if you like, but 
it is not a requirement, just generally good practice.  The parts that 
are taken from R must contain copies of the copyright notices from the 
originals.  If you do include a copyright notice in your own code, then 
anyone using it will be required by the GPL to keep that one, as well as 
the R copyrights.

> Am 2014-11-06 15:46, schrieb Hadley Wickham:
> >>> And if yes how to do it best? What is the standard procedure here?
> >>> Should I include base package authors as contributors in DESCRIPTION???
> >>>
> >>> Am I allowed to use MIT + file license with that or is it wrong to do so?
> >>
> >> No, you must use the GPL, since the code you copied is licensed under
> >> the GPL.  You can choose to use version 2 or 3 (or both).  You do not
> >> have permission to re-license R code under a different license.
> >
> > I think it's slightly murkier than that - MIT is GPL compatible, so
> > you could license the code you've written as MIT, but the package as a
> > whole would need to be GPL-2/3.

Yes, it is complicated.  For files where you own the copyright, you can 
license them any way you like in addition to the GPL license. 
Effectively this means you can be more liberal (granting more rights), 
but you can't be more restrictive:  because you've included GPL code, 
you must give recipients of your whole package the rights that the GPL 

For files from R where you don't own the copyright, you are using them 
under the GPL, so you don't have the freedom to change the license.

Duncan Murdoch

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