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Re: FSF copyright assignment (was: SIGILL problems with Hurd port of GO

From: Brent W. Baccala
Subject: Re: FSF copyright assignment (was: SIGILL problems with Hurd port of GO in gcc-8, and rpctrace bugs)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:55:42 -0500

On Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 3:33 AM, Samuel Thibault <samuel.thibault@gnu.org> wrote:
Brent W. Baccala, on dim. 19 nov. 2017 20:04:35 -0500, wrote:
>         The   assignment   of   par.   1(a)   above   applies   to   all 
>          past   and   future   works   of   Developer   that   constitute 
>          changes   and
>         enhancements to the Program.
> An obvious reading of this is that everything I do on Hurd for the rest of my
> life will belong to the Free Software Foundation.

"the Program" meaning the FSF repository, not whatever branch you have
on your disk or whatever.

The contract defines "the Program":

1.(a)   Developer   hereby   agrees   to   assign   and   does   hereby   assign   to   FSF   Developer's   copyright   in   changes   and/or
enhancements to the suite of programs known as GNU HURD (herein called the Program), including any accompanying
documentation files and supporting files as well as the actual program code. These changes and/or enhancements are herein
called the Works.

There is no mention here of the FSF repository.  "the Program" is GNU HURD.  Notice that if the GPL was read the way that you are proposing, as soon as I made a change on my local disk, the GPL would no longer apply, since the local copy would no longer be considered "the Program".
>   I've asked them to change the language and they have refused.

Because they believe it already means what you want.

The way a legal contract is supposed to work is that the parties negotiate until they develop language that everyone agrees on.

Of course, we know that often, legal contracts don't work that way at all.  Some big organization hands you a contract, tells to sign it, and if you won't, too bad.

And everyone needs to get a lawyer, so it's all very, very expensive.
> My patches are covered under the GPL; you're free to use them.  Samuel can
> incorporate them into the git repository, if he so chooses.

I can not choose that alone. Being covered by assignments is a GNU

True enough.  I was needling you a bit.  :-)  Sorry if I caused any offense.

My point is that I've done everything that, say, Linus Torvalds would want for code to be incorporated into the Linux kernel.


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