I stumbled across this issue this morning, and am assembling this report looking at bash history. The scenario goes like so. Given, a repository with trunk/tags/branches, plus trunk/foo and trunk/foo/bar. User "luser" has access to everything *except* trunk/foo/bar. User "root" has access to everything. Our luser does a checkout, and gets everthing but bar: $ svn co --username luser REPOS-URL wc A wc/trunk A wc/trunk/foo A wc/branches A wc/tags Checking the .svn/entries file for foo/ shows that bar is indeed absent: ... <entry name="bar" kind="dir" absent="true"/> ... Now, root comes along on this working copy and does a copy + commit: $ svn cp wc/trunk wc/tags/my-tag $ svn ci --username root -m "Tag it" Adding tags/my-tag svn: Commit succeeded, but other errors follow: svn: Error bumping revisions post-commit (details follow): svn: Working copy '/home/cmpilato/tests/wc/tags/my-tag/foo/bar' not locked Uh-oh.