[Incubator] Feedback from gt2 on contributors agreement.
cholmes at openplans.org
Thu Mar 16 13:11:50 EST 2006
Rich Steele wrote:
> Jody Garnett wrote:
>>Arnulf Christl wrote:
>>>Chris Holmes wrote:
>>>>So I sent out an email to geotools about the contributors agreement
>>>>(we're electing the official rep on monday, but I wanted to get
>>>>feedback on this sooner rather than later).
>>>>One question just looks like a good one for the FAQ:
>>>>Does this mean that before I can accept and commit a patch
>>>>to me by a non-committer, they must submit a signed copy of the
>>>>agreement to the foundation? Or would it fall under the copy of the
>>>>agreement that I will sign?
>>>>And the other is likely a bit more involved:
>>>>Public domain contributions.
>>>>Failure to accept them excludes all interaction with the US Federal
>>>>Basically all federal employees _must_ release their work under
>>>>public domain. This is then obvioiusly able to be re-assigned, but
>>>>if a contributor is working for the US government, then they can't
>>>>release their work like directly to the foundation to be licensed
>>>>under a more restrictive license. In GeoTools I think we just let
>>>>Bryce add a public domain license. But it'd be great if we could
>>>>the real legal answer as to how to handle contributions from US gov
>>>Did you ever get an answer to this one?
>>Not a great answer, its seems that the work is in the public domain so
>>the foundation does not need much in the way of permission to defend
>>legally. However there were some "edge" cases I am still not sure on.
>>still think we needed to treat Bryce special for some reason (well he
>>*is* special he understands ISO specs for me).
> Well, I thought it was a great answer ;) The work done by a government
> employee is either public domain because it is done for the government
> on the clock, or it is copyrighted by the individual because it is done
> on the employee's own time. In the case of a public domain work, the
> foundation would not need any license to the work because it is already
> in the public domain and thus free to use by anyone. In the case of a
> work that is copyrighted by the individual, that is where the
> contributor agreement would come into play because the foundation would
> need to obtain rights to that copyrighted work.'
Ok, this works from the foundation's perspective, but what remains
unclear is from _his_ perspective. If the only place one can get at his
code is through the foundation/geotools, which has an LGPL license, then
he could get in trouble with his employer. Basically I think what we're
looking for is either some mechanism where he can say in the license
that his work is available to all, or a place to release his code
available to all in parallel with the LGPL release. Or assurance that
he's in the clear if he just releases as LGPL. We want him to be a
happy contributor, able to commit to our svn repository, on his paid
time, and not be worried about getting in trouble for only releasing his
code as LGPL.
> And to clarify, this is not about "defending it legally", it is about
> ensuring that the foundation has adequate rights to the code that it
> includes in foundation projects.
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The Open Planning Project
thoughts at: http://cholmes.wordpress.com
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