From: Yuan Fu <address@hidden>
Date: Thu, 14 May 2020 22:57:58 -0400
Cc: Emacs developers <address@hidden>
I think couple days ago someone (Joao?) read the copyright assignment and said FSF shares the copyright
with the assignee, is that right? If so I should change the “give” in “By signing the assignment, you give the
copyright of your code to FSF.” to “share”.
I don't think "share" quite catches this, but IANAL.
Why do you need to include these details in a blog about Emacs?
I mentioned that one needs to sign the assignment to get their code merged. Relevant paragraph:
You don’t need a copyright assignment to send patches for review. But for the patch to merge into Emacs, it needs to have a copyright assignment signed if it is non-trivial (≥ 15 lines of code, as a rule of thumb). By signing the assignment, you give the copyright of your code to FSF. (See more at [[https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-assign.en.html][Why Copyright Assignment]
].) You need to first check with your employer before signing it. Most of the time it’s no problem. To sign the assignment, ask for a form on the mailing list, and someone will send it to you. You fill it in and send it to an “FSF clerk”, then he sends you the document to sign, either by email or by mail. You sign it and send it back, and he sends you the final document with an FSF signature on it.
Before now I thought by signing the assignment I give up my copyright and give to FSF. That didn’t bother me, but I’m sure there are people that doesn’t like to give up their copyright. I thought I ought to make clear that you don’t lose your copyright.
Also, does that mean the assignee can change the license to public domain?
Yes, but only for the version the assignee him/herself distributes,
not for the code contributed to Emacs. AFAIU, at least.
In effect, AFAIU, the agreement splits the code into 2 separate
versions: one is distributed by Emacs under GPL, the other could be
distributed by the author under any license the author choses,
including a non-free one.
Thanks, I understand now.