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Documenting FSF copyright assignment process

From: Konstantin Kharlamov
Subject: Documenting FSF copyright assignment process
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2019 02:33:21 +0300

I was wondering about that off-list, and I was asked to create a new topic about that.

I recently went through the signing procedure, and one thing I didn't like which can be improved: the specific steps up to sending a mail to address@hidden are not documented. In my case I had to send a private mail to Eli asking for the assignment form, he sent it back to me along with further instructions; then I filled the form and sent it to address@hidden

This is a roundtrip that takes time for both maintainer and a user. Additionally, users are not even sure if what they're doing is correct, e.g. look at the last "assignment"-titled mail on this list, it starts with "I'm not sure if it's the right place to ask this". Yes, neither was I! That only adds up confusion and frustration (which is likely already there because you can't "just contribute" like with other FOSS projects). Even more so when one has social communication problems, which I think is not that rare among scientists/developers.

It would really help if the emacs documentation about assignment¹ has either α) a paragraph with the form to be sent to address@hidden and according instructions, or β) if it has to be documented on another site, e.g. FSF's, it would help to put a link to emacs documentation¹ after the words "Copyright assignment is a simple process." (and I hope that this would-be referred documentation includes α; preferrably with any legal notes — if there will be any — moved somewhere at the bottom).

1: https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/emacs/Copyright-Assignment.html#Copyright-Assignment

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