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Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013 15:32:31 +0900

Carsten Dominik writes:

 > If we allow people to reduce functionality of a package that is
 > already in Emacs by making changes to it,

Too late.  That's already allowed by the GPL, in fact, it's a
fundamental principle of software freedom.

 > then withdraw the assignment, I think this would create a bad
 > precedent.

Well, the question is whether committing to the org-mode repository
*legally* constitutes a contribution to Emacs covered by the "future"
assignment.  If not, you don't have a choice.  If it does, then the
assignment can't be withdrawn; the transfer of ownership of a specific
copyright is an historical event, not an ongoing contract.

As for the practical issue of allowing authors to withdraw code
(whether they have a legal right to do so or not), I side with Stefan
if it hasn't actually landed in the Emacs mainline yet.  It's the old
story of "If you love something, set it free.  If it comes back, it's
yours forever.  If not, it never really was yours."  (Of course this
applies to the OP with equal force, but that doesn't mean Emacs
shouldn't respect it just because he doesn't.)  I mean, if this
actually creates a *precedent*, then Emacs as a community is dead

[1]  Of course this doesn't apply to a case of contribution with
*intent* to withdraw.  If it really seems like it was done in bad
faith, then fight with all the legal resources you have.

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