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As brought to my attention by this comment, it seems that in setup.cfg, license accepts a file:, and the docstring of _parse_file even mentions file: LICENSE. I think this was based on a misunderstanding of what the license file does, and I think will lead to problems with #1390 if actually used this way.
We should remove support for file: in the license field.
To do on this:
Remove file: support from the code. I'd start with just removing it and seeing what error is raised if you have file: in there, but if the error message is confusing, we need to add a "throw error if it's file:" parser.
The ability to handle files was originally added and documented based on
a misunderstanding of what the `license` field should include. The field
should be the name of the license, not the full text.
It is likely that anyone actually using this was outputing malformed
PKG-INFO files, because most license files contain newlines.
See GH issue pypa#1551