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Re: FW: Publish the changes

From: Andrew Clausen
Subject: Re: FW: Publish the changes
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 09:28:44 +1000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6+20040907i

On Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 09:10:03AM +0200, address@hidden wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 08:30:00AM +0200, K.G. wrote:
> > 
> > Don't contributions need to be copyright assigned to the FSF anymore ?
> It depends.
> The Maintainers' Guide says:
> "Before incorporating significant changes, make sure that the person
> has signed copyright papers and that the Free Software Foundation
> has received and signed them."
> Would you consider this a significant contribution?
> I'm not sure...

Firstly, either a disclaimer or an assignment is acceptable.  A
disclaimer just gives the FSF permission to distribute the code under
the GPL.  An assignment actually transfers all copyright property
rights to the FSF.  I suppose the FSF prefers assignments, because
it can sue people who violate the GPL on code that it holds the
copyright to.

Secondly, "significant contribution" is rather difficult to define.
Lawyers are strange, and it's probably a bad idea for technically
oriented people to try understanding them without serious effort.  I
suspect the issue of "significant contribution" could be tortured
brutally in a court room.  Replacing "it's" with "its" 100 times
throughout a source file is probably not a significant contribution.
Restructuring a 10-line while loop into a for loop, and fixing a bug in
the loop at the same time probably would be.

I think the patch posted earlier in this thread is clearly a significant
contribution that we should at least get a disclaimer for.  It never
hurts to be cautious.

I am not a lawyer... I am just describing how I have handled this in the
past, which could be wrong.  (I have also had email exchange with FSF's
legal counsel on the issue ages ago, which has probably influenced my
beliefs here)


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