Copyright for readline/editline packages

Paul Johnson paul at
Sat Jan 12 09:10:05 EST 2008

Judah Jacobson wrote:
> Hi all,
> As mentioned before, I'm putting together an editline package which
> will provide a subset of the APIs from the readline package, but be
> BSD-compatible since it links against libedit.
> The licensing for the readline package itself is a little strange --
> it's licensed under the GPL (because it links with libreadline), but
> there's no copyright holder information; and Readline.hsc from that
> package lists "Copyright: (c) unknown".
> I'd like to put the Haskell editline package under BSD3, but most of
> the code will be copied verbatim from the readline package.  How
> should this be attributed/copyrighted
Disclaimer: IANAL.

Unfortunately you can't make copies without permission from the 
copyright holder, even if you can't trace them.  So in this case you are 
not allowed to copy verbatim.

However if, for technical or compatibility reasons there is only one 
possible way to write it (for instance the names and types of an API) 
then you can duplicate that.  But you still can't copy the comments 
verbatim unless they are completely dictated by the code.

Of course if we can track down the original author then you may be able 
to get some other permission from them.


More information about the Libraries mailing list