[OSGeo-Discuss] Software Copyright ownership

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Sun Feb 14 09:33:03 PST 2010

Arnulf Christl (aka Seven) wrote:
> Cleaning up an older thread... 
>>From what I gather from the lists there seems to be no broad opinion in
> favor of making projects move their copyright under the hood of OSGeo. 
> With the recent discussion of potential export restriction enforcement
> by incorporated organizations incorporated in USA the the need for a
> more global organization seems to be higher. I am frankly at a loss at
> where such an organization would be incorporated and what it could look
> like but if it existed I would very much like to support it. If anyone
> has a great idea what a truly global OSGeo should look like please speak
> up. 
> We should spend some thought on copyright every time we admit and
> evaluate projects in incubation. My personal experience shows that
> having the copyright of Open Source projects completely under the hood
> of a community owned organization is a good thing. Everything else is
> messy. The messy bit only shows when things go wrong so lets keep
> fingers crossed and as long as nothing happens we'll all be fine. 


I'm not sure I see the connection between the "who holds copyright"
issue, and the "US export controls" issue.  To me, centralized copyright
is primarily helpful when relicensing, or ensuring we have the right to
pursue legal action against someone using one of our projects in a fashion
that is contrary to the license.

I haven't yet come to any conclusions what to do about the US export control
problem.  One thing that was expressed in the past in a discussion of this
problem (perhaps on foundations list) is that many US export controls are a
reflection of international convenants on the export of weapons and possibly
weapons related technologies that have also been signed by most other major
nations.  As such, the US just seems to have more organized enforcement, and
we might at some point expect some similar enforcement in other nations.
I'm not sure exactly how true this is - I suspect there is a lot of leeway
in how things are classified, and enforced.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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