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Re: [Gnumed-devel] 5 fulltime pre-graduating software engineering studen

From: Karsten Hilbert
Subject: Re: [Gnumed-devel] 5 fulltime pre-graduating software engineering students
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 00:32:21 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/

> These are aspects which were recently disussed with Horst. 
> My understanding of open source GPL'd projects is that 
> no-one and no entity "owns" the project, or can claim any 
> royalties for the sale of the product. 
Oh, I understand what the GPL is about. I just wonder how the
automatic IP transfer from students to RMIT affects their
ability to put that IP into GnuMed.

For one thing, they certainly can. As long as "their fork"
of GnuMed is never released no problems ensue whatsoever, even
if they were to apply IP patented by RMIT on behalf of some
other student (say, a knowledge inference state machine).
However, if they incorporate RMIT patented IP it has no use
for the rest of us unless we either rip it out again or RMIT
signs a waiver type thing. Now, since even their very own IP
being generated while enrolled at RMIT automatically belongs
to RMIT I wonder if they even have the power to give that IP
to GnuMed without creating (solvable) trouble for us AND doing
GnuMed on University time. RMIT IP does not, however, mean
*patented* RMIT IP and it does not automatically spell doom.
I'd just like this cleaned up beforehand.

> Yes, RMIT students can contribute their expertise to 
> anything they want.  But if they want that work to be 
> recognised by the Uni as work done towards 
> obtaining their degree(s), then the work needs to be 
> approved by the Uni, and a Uni supervisor monitors 
> the work to ensure that it fulfills required criteria. 
Definitely sensible guidelines.

> As such, the standing Uni-student agreement is that 
> the Uni becomes the owner of the intellectual property 
> of that project work, BUT the only benefit to the Uni 
> when students contribute to GPLd projects is that the 
> Uni can claim (rightfully) that they have been 
> contributors to the project.  
This sounds good. It sort of answers my above concerns. A
dead-tree version (maybe deposited at Horst's practice) will
help even more. Yes, I am paranoid :-))

Perhaps Samba is a good precedent that the above agreement
works well.

> I feel grateful that RMIT have accepted GnuMed as 
> the 3-semester project for the student group.  
Surely so. Me too.

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