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Re: Copyright assignment requirement


From: David Chisnall
Subject: Re: Copyright assignment requirement
Date: Sat, 31 May 2014 12:01:35 +0100

For the BERI Open Systems CIC we've followed the Apache model of requiring a 
contributors agreement that doesn't assign copyright, but does permit 
relicensing of the code and grants irrevocable sublicenseable permission to do 
so.

For FreeBSD, we are considering introducing a similar agreement.  Even though 
the project is permissively licensed and there is little reason to want to 
change the meaning of the license, we do want to change the text of quiet a few 
files where the wording is subtly different from the approved form (mostly in 
the disclaimer of warranty).  

My copyright assignment would not be enforceable by the FSF in court, because 
the paperwork says that they will pay me one dollar in exchange for the 
copyright and the did not.  Sufficiently long has passed that it would be easy 
to argue that they acted in bad faith.  If they've done the same with everyone 
else, then we gain absolutely nothing from the copyright assignment, because 
any developer who actually wanted to contest decisions made by the project 
could do so easily.

The FSF has used the copyright grants to change the license of code from GPLv2 
or later to GPLv3 or later, which makes some people quite uncomfortable - who 
knows what GPLv4 will have in it?  A lot of the companies I work with have a 
no-GPLv3-code-in-the-door policy (and GPLv3 is not one of the licenses 
acceptable by the grant on which I'm currently funded), which means that I'm 
unable to use GNUstep for much that's work-related.  

David

On 30 May 2014, at 17:29, Gregory Casamento <address@hidden> wrote:

> When we discussed the prospect of moving to GitHub someone suggested that it 
> "would invite contributions from nonassigned members of the community."   I'm 
> wondering if this is a bad thing.
> 
> I have long had a problem with the assignment requirement as it limits 
> participation in a project which already has limited participation due to 
> it's focused nature.  
> 
> Would it not be a good idea to open up contributions to the world at large 
> and allow unassigned contributions into the project?
> 
> What problems would this solve?  I believe we would have a larger variety of 
> people contributing to gnustep and it would ultimately remove what some see 
> as a barrier to entry since some people don't want to disclaim or assign 
> their copyrights.
> 
> This is especially pertinent to the move to GitHub since I have noticed that 
> when the mirror was running there were a number of forks of the repos and a 
> number of pull requests after it was up for a while.    Btw, I was not 
> confusing git with GitHub.  GitHub is a social platform for allowing coders 
> to collaborate.  This is why I think they move would be a good idea.  
> 
> Let me know if you guys have any thoughts. 
> 
> GC 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Gregory Casamento
> Open Logic Corporation, Principal Consultant
> yahoo/skype: greg_casamento, aol: gjcasa
> (240)274-9630 (Cell)
> http://www.gnustep.org
> http://heronsperch.blogspot.com
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss-gnustep mailing list
> address@hidden
> https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss-gnustep



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