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Re: copyright and incorporating code from mailing list posts


From: jmg3000
Subject: Re: copyright and incorporating code from mailing list posts
Date: 24 Aug 2006 13:38:49 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2

David Kastrup wrote:
> address@hidden writes:
>
> > If you're running a free software project, and a contributor posts a
> > few lines of code, or a patch, to the public mailing list
> > (implicitly expecting you to feel free to incorporate the posted
> > code into the project), it would seem reasonable for a project
> > copyright holder (one who's doing the commit) to simply splice the
> > code into the project code without modifying any copyright notices.
>
> No, it wouldn't.

Check.

> > I assume that all committers on a given project put their names in
> > the license header of the files that they modify.
>
> Rarely.

Hm. Whoops. I'd forgotten about copyright assignment for GNU projects.
For other projects though (where everyone supposedly keeps their own
copyrights), that sounds like a problem.

Actually, where a large number of folks all have their own copyrights
for a given project, I don't see how that could work. It's not like you
could conceivably round them all up and get them to show up in court if
they actually had to legally defend their collective licensing terms...
(?)

Would you suggest that most free software projects should probably have
no more than a handful of copyright holders? How about when you inherit
a project from someone else who may not've kept very good track of
contributors?

> > What's the policy on this for GNU projects?
> [snip informative reply]

Thanks for the info David!

---John



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