Stan License issue


Hi all -

I am pushing my idealstan package to CRAN, and got this email from a CRAN reviewer about adding “The Trustees of Columbia University” as an author/copyright holder to the package description:

We are missing
Copyright © 2015, 2016 Trustees of Columbia University

in the authors list.

Please add all authors and copyright holders in the Authors@R field with the appropriate roles.

From the CRAN policies you agreed to:

"The ownership of copyright and intellectual property rights of all components of the package must be clear and unambiguous (including from the authors specification in the DESCRIPTION file). Where code is copied (or derived) from the work of others (including from R itself), care must be taken that any copyright/license statements are preserved and authorship is not misrepresented.

Preferably, an ‘Authors@R’ would be used with ‘ctb’ roles for the authors of such code. Alternatively, the ‘Author’ field should list these authors as contributors.

Where copyrights are held by an entity other than the package authors, this should preferably be indicated via ‘cph’ roles in the ‘Authors@R’ field, or using a ‘Copyright’ field (if necessary referring to an inst/COPYRIGHTS file)."

I looked at brms and edstan, and neither list Columbia (or the Stan team) in the author field. I am fine doing this, but a bit mystified as to exactly what I should write in the Copyright field - if Stan is BSD/GPL, doesn’t that mean I don’t need to include the copyright as long as my package is also GPL?

If I do need to include authors from Stan, should I just list the Stan Development Team and leave it at that?

Any help much appreciated.


They asked me to do that as well. Look at my RBesT package. The thing is, you very likely have taken over vanilla code from rstanarm. I did mark the specific files which are involved in that.


Thank you so much, that is really helpful! :)


What Sebastian said is correct. An R package with pre-compiled Stan models like rstanarm needs to licensed under the GPL because it is a derived work of Rcpp, which is licensed under the GPL, but the copyright is held by you, or your university, or your employer, etc. In addition, if you used rtools::rstan_package.skeleton, it downloads some files from rstanarm, which is copyrighted to the Trustees of Columbia University. In general, that is it from an IP perspective.

There is an additional thing where you need to put

SystemRequirements: GNU make

in your DESCRIPTION file in order for the build process to work on Solaris where the default make is not GNU make.