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Re: One-click copyright assignments?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: One-click copyright assignments?
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:44:42 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.0.50 (gnu/linux)

> This.  I'm also curious to know why is the process so bureaucratic as it is
> currently.  Maybe there's a legal issue or something.

The FSF is fairly cautious (not sure what's the best translation for
"frileux") in this respect, indeed.  But I agree that several parts
could be streamlined without having too much impact on the legal side:
- turn the initial form into a web-form.
- make it so the web-form doesn't send an email to address@hidden
  (i.e. to Donald who's already busy enough) but should instead
  automatically return the appropriate PDF.  I understand that in some
  cases, a human might be needed, but we should be able to arrange for
  the web-form to cover 99% of the needs.

Just doing that would be a significant improvement I think.  The user
can then immediately get the PDF, and sign it without any delay.
It would still have the delay to receive the signed PDF, check it,
etc... which involves a human (Donald again, AFAIK), but: one step at
a time.

This said, this is an FSF-issue, not specific to Emacs, so it would be
better to discuss it elsewhere.


> On Sun, Mar 12, 2017 at 8:08 AM, Clément Pit-Claudel <address@hidden>
> wrote:

>> Hey emacs-devel,
>> Why is the copyright assignment process for GNU software more complex than
>> other similar ones ?  I've contributed to various pieces of free software
>> in the past, and in most cases (except for Apache) the assignment process
>> was little more than a click of a button, possibly followed by an email.
>> For Emacs, on the other hand, one needs to send an email to emacs-devel to
>> get an off-list copy of a text-based form, then send the completed form to
>> address@hidden, then wait for a PDF (which mentions a monetary transaction of
>> $1 that never actually happens), then electronically sign the form using
>> PGP (possibly with an entirely new PGP key), then email it back and wait
>> for confirmation.
>> Is there anything specific to Emacs that requires the process to be this
>> complicated?  For example, could the entire process not be automated?
>> Ideally new contributors would fill a web form on gnu.org/emacs, sign
>> with their mouse at the bottom of that form, and confirm their email adress
>> by clicking a link in an email.
>> The existing process could remain in place for e.g. company-wide
>> assignments, but for the common case of applying a patch to an ELPA
>> package, wouldn't this make things much nicer?  If this can't be done, then
>> could we at least automate the part that generates the PDF form, and the
>> part that checks the signature, so as to eliminate the copyright assignment
>> delay?
>> Thanks!
>> Clément.

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