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Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)

From: W. Greenhouse
Subject: Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2013 21:06:42 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.2 (gnu/linux)

Jambunathan K <address@hidden> writes:

> I have no intention of cancelling my copyright assignment for Emacs
> (unilaterally from my side).  

That's news.

>  I have no doubts that my patches are useful to me and also a broad
> audience.
> I think it is only right that a developer request that some of his work
> be excluded from assignment with prior notice to copyright clerk.  Emacs
> is a suite.  The intention of future assignment is merely a logistical
> convenience.  
> Personally, I don't want to support Org-mode developement under the
> maintainership of Bastien Guerry.  The fact that I am doing pro-bono
> work doesn't mean that I give others the right to step on me like "a
> door mat".

I don't think I or anyone else is disputing your right to cancel your
assignment.  However, your words created the perception that you were
attempting to inconvenience Emacs by slowing Org's integration into the
next Emacs release--neither cancelling nor not cancelling, but simply
creating a miasma of FUD around your code.  You've now clarified that
you are no longer doing this, which is a relief.

As bkuhn indicated in the post you linked, you have the right to cancel
your assignment at any time.  You also have the right not to work on Org
ever again.  You do not have the right to sit in the middle of the road
to obstruct development because you don't like the maintainer.  As Eli
observed, the appropriate remedy for irreconcilable differences is to
fork.  Please do so if you wish; the Emacs community practically
invented forking.

> If I can make a proprietary version out of (prior) assigned work, then
> saying "diff for Emacs" belong to Emacs seems a bit inconsistent.  

> So, a "diff for Emacs or the suite", in and of itself, is devoid of any
> meaning without further qualification.

I am not sure how the FSF wishes to play this, but in copyright terms,
"[the default distribution of] Emacs" is a compilation of many works
independently copyrightable.  Compilations can get copyright protection
as such, and the protection accorded to, e.g., a journal, or a volume of
several monographs with different authors and one editor, is not "devoid
of meaning."  By Org's policies as a project, most of Org with the
exception of contrib/ requires assignment in order to be included in the

But you understand all this already, I expect, as your delaying tactics
seem to have been based on a sophisticated knowledge of the harm and
inconvenience you would be causing to Org users.

> Btw, I didn't receive $1 or GNU stickers.  Other contributors seem to
> have received these "considerations".  I would have loved to get these!

If that would've prevented all this, then I'm really sorry it didn't


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