Translations, Copyrights and Licenses

Albert Astals Cid aacid at
Thu Sep 24 11:26:39 BST 2020

El dimecres, 23 de setembre de 2020, a les 21:54:50 CEST, Josep Ma. Ferrer va escriure:
> Hello all,
> some time ago, KDE adopted SPDX-based [1] and REUSE software [2]
> compatible license statements for KDE licensing policy [3]. The main
> goal of this adoption is to make the license statements machine readable
> and following the REUSE principles, helping in a software license
> compliance. New copyright and license statements policy is already
> applied for developing Frameworks and many KDE applications.
> As translators, we can implement this new copyright and license
> formatting easily.
> First, we must replace the copyright statements in the "po" files like:
> # Jane Doe <jane at>, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.
> by [4]:
> # SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2013, 2015-2020 Jane Doe <jane at>
> .. for each copyright holder (generally author, or translator in our case).
> Second, we must replace the license statements in the "po" files like
> (this is an example):
> # This file is distributed under the license LGPL version 2.1 or
> # version 3 or later versions approved by the membership of KDE e.V.
> by:
> SPDX-License-Identifier: LGPL-2.1-only OR LGPL-3.0-only OR
> LicenseRef-KDE-Accepted-LGPL
> Of course, we need to use the proper license tags and formatting to make
> a machine readable statements (more information on [3]). It's important
> to note we can't change a file license without the approval of ALL the
> file authors. Tentatively, this proposal it's only about a copyright and
> license reformatting, not a relicensing.
> But translations are a somewhat special when we talk about copyright and
> licenses. Translations are considered a "derivative work", and generally
> they are distributed in a package with other files (sources, binaries,
> documentation, etc.). Of course, all the licenses for the files in a
> package must be consistent, because the final license for the package
> will be the most restrictive license between all the files. 

That's not 100% accurate, it's fine to have multiple licenses and not necessarily the most restrictive of all of the files "wins".
Things that are unrelated to eachother don't influence eachother, i.e. you can have a license for the documentation and one for the code and they can even be incompatible, there's no problem with that.

> Distro
> packagers also create packages for each language, gathering all the KDE
> translations for a language in a package. 

Do they really still do that? We should tell them to stop it.

> On the other side, there are
> also translations for web sites (,,
> announcements and other) that have some particular licenses.
> To avoid, or at least, to minimize license problems with
> packaging/distribution, I suggest we can do our translations available
> under a license like "This file is distributed under the same license as
> the *foo* package". I can see two options for this change:
> 1) We need an special SPDX identifier to identify this "pseudo-license"
> ("This file is distributed under the same license as the *foo*
> package"), and then use this special SPDX identifier in our "po" files.
> This a manual process, prone to human errors.
> 2) Or we can extend scripts (or their successors) to respect
> SPDX-License-Identifier marker and *compute* the "po" file license from
> the package license. If possible, this will be an automated process.
> This option also will give a license to all the "po" files without license.

This should be possible, yes.

I would love if someone could work on that.

In theory we don't even need to extend, the .pot files have info from which file the texts were extracted so we could parse the files out of the .pot and then just use the tools that parse the license from those files and gives us the aggregate license for the .pot file.


> What do you think about this question?
> You can find more about KDE licensing here [5].
> Best regards,
> Josep Ma. Ferrer
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]

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