[GRASS-PSC] Copyright and License Statement: affiliation change

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Fri Mar 21 08:42:44 EDT 2008

Paul Kelly wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Mar 2008, Markus Neteler wrote:
>> Hi PSC,
>> in our COPYING file and other places we still list FBK as primary
>> headquarter. Martin suggested to change that (although he's still there).
>> http://trac.osgeo.org/grass/browser/grass/trunk/COPYING
>> Proposal (although I would prefer an European address ;-) ):
>> ...
>> The Geographic Resources Analysis and Support System (GRASS)
>> Geographic Information System (GIS) is Copyright by the
>> GRASS Development Team headquartered at the
>> Open Source Geospatial Foundation, USA.
>> ...
>> Questions regarding GRASS GIS should be directed to the
>> GRASS Development Team at the following address:
>> GRASS Development Team
>> c/o M. Neteler (GRASS PSC Chair)
>> Fondazione Mach  -  Centre for Alpine Ecology
>> 38100 Viote del Monte Bondone (Trento)
>> Italy
>> neteler osgeo.org
>> http://grass.osgeo.org/community/team.php
>> ...
>> What's your opinion?
> Well the GRASS development team isn't a legal entity anyway. Is it not 
> true that the copyright of the GRASS code is held by its individual 
> authors? Changing the definition of the "GRASS development team" from 
> being associated with a particular physical location to being associated 
> with an organisation doesn't really improve or clarify anything IMHO.
> Another point could be that the reason for that phrase being there was 
> to associate a physical location/place with the copyright in case that 
> was important or required. But OSGeo is an organisation rather than a 
> location so that is lost too with the proposed change.
> My inclination would be to not bother changing anything unless we're 
> going to do a thorough overhaul and make sure it is correct and complies 
> with whatever relevant laws etc.


I tend to agree.  If the headers are changed, I would suggest the
text "is Copyright by members of the GRASS Development Team..." to
be more clear on the legal reality.  I presume the physical contact
address is only going to appear in the main LICENSE file right?  No
point having to update it in 1000 places each time Markus moves, or
a new GRASS PSC chair is selected.

Generally speaking I don't think a great this issue is terribly
legally important.  Copyright remains with the contributors unless
otherwise altered, and the association of the source code with the
license is well established.

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    | President OSGeo, http://osgeo.org

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