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RE: Copyright years


now I'm seeing this I've a question that burns me already for years, and I
didn't yet find any answer for this.

Is there any legal issue behind the copyright years?

As I've seen the copyright year at almost every application ever seen.
like Copyright 1995-1999 babblebabble

What exactly do the years mean? 
Okay, from the message below I now know now exactly what they mean :o) 
but what are they really good for?

Has it any legal consequences if I've forgot them in my project?

> I've a 
> ------- Forwarded Message
> -
------------------------------------------------------------------------> -----
> For those who haven't heard, the year is now 2001.  That means that
> whenever you change a file with a copyright notice at the top, you
> should add 2001 to the list of copyrighted years.
> For those who work on GNU programs, I have appended the relevant
> extract from the GNU maintainer notes.
> When you update the copyright notice, make sure it looks reasonable.
> Specifically, if 2000 is not listed, but the file was changed in 2000
> (you can use `cvs log' to check this), go ahead and add 2000.  We
> often forget to update the copyright notice when a change is made.
> Ian
> Copyright Notices
> =================
> You should maintain copyright notices in all files of the program.  A
> copyright notice looks like this:
>      Copyright 19XX, 19YY, 19ZZ  COPYRIGHT-HOLDER
> The COPYRIGHT-HOLDER is usually the Free Software Foundation, Inc., but
> may be someone else.
> The list of year numbers should include each year in which you finished
> preparing a version which was actually released, and which was an
> ancestor of the current version.
> It is important to understand that rule carefully, much as you would
> understand a complicated C statement in order to hand-simulate it.
> This list is *not* a list of years in which versions were released.  It
> is a list of years in which versions, later released, were *completed*.
> So if you finish a version on Dec 31, 1994 and release it on Jan 1,
> 1995, this version requires the inclusion of 1994, but doesn't require
> the inclusion of 1995.
> The versions that matter, for purposes of this list, are versions that
> were ancestors of the current version.  So if you made a temporary
> branch in maintenance, and worked on branches A and B in parallel, then
> each branch would have its own list of years, which is based on the
> versions released in that branch.  A version in branch A need not be
> reflected in the list of years for branch B, and vice versa.
> However, if you copy code from branch A into branch B, the years for
> branch A (or at least, for the parts that you copied into branch B) do
> need to appear in the list in branch B, because now they are ancestors
> of branch B.

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