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Re: The copyright issue

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: The copyright issue
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2010 10:28:54 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

> address@hidden writes:
>  > If it is indeed GPL software.  IIRC, somebody once contributed code
>  > that his employer later claimed was not his to contribute.  Having
>  > clear ownership avoids such hassles.
> The assignment has nothing to do with that, however.  What's necessary
> in that case is not an assignment by the author, but a disclaimer of
> interest (ownership) by the employer.

The assignment makes the author responsible for the legal status of his
contributions.  Including clearing up any ownership issues.

> All in all, the assignment policy can't be justified as a matter of
> "prudence".  The assignment itself only minimally decreases the risk
> of unclear ownership to the project.

I think it significantly reduces the risk of an FSF claim being thrown
out of court because of "dirty hands".  If they have a contractual
assurance that the code was free from rights of third persons, that's
certainly helpful even where the other party in the conflict is not the
contributor himself.

> The employer disclaimers are important for risk management,

And the FSF certainly can't figure out the details of employment for
every contributor.  The assignment makes the contributor accountable for
doing a best-faith effort.

David Kastrup

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