[Board] GeoTools and CLA's

Chris Holmes cholmes at openplans.org
Thu May 17 14:43:48 PDT 2007

Ok, so I've taken up the task of presenting the GeoTools Contributor 
License Agreement to the board.

The short story is that the GeoTools community wants to assign copyright 
to OSGeo, but isn't quite happy with the existing contributor license 
agreement.  So Adrian Custer, a member of the GeoTools community, has 
taken some time to look in to alternatives and present one to the board.

The basic steps that need to happen are outlined here:


Is the current version of an agreement that is acceptable to GeoTools 
contributors.  The hope is that it can be used by other projects wishing 
to assign copyright as well.  It is based on the Fiduciary License 
Agreement made by FSF Europe.  The advantages are

1) considers lots of different legal frameworks in which the document 
must operate

2)  doesn't use the nefarious "intellectual property rights." If you've 
heard Stallman speak in the past four years, you can't sign a document 
that uses those words.

3) Says nothing about OSGeo's responsibilities except that it will keep 
it available under open source, and potentially other license terms as 
well.  The sentence that says that is also a bit confusing, since it 
lumps the OS and other licenses in to the same thing.

Adrian is going to work on a concrete proposal for #3, as the one in 
geotools now hasn't been fully changed for OSGeo.  He should have it in 
time for the meeting tomorrow, likely with some bits about PSC's power 
in choosing licenses.  There were a few other advantages that he can dig 
up if needed, but for me personally those three are sufficient for us to 

So the next steps from the board will be
1) review the modified FLA, and to give any push back on the terms
2) Have an OSGeo lawyer look it over and make in to precise legal 
language anywhere we may lack it (since it's a bit cobbled together)
3) Run by incubation committee, hopefully it becomes part of the CLA 
repository for projects
4) Have an OSGeo representative sign it, and then distribute copies to 
the GeoTools contributors

best regards,


Chris Holmes
The Open Planning Project
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