[Mapbender-dev] Copyright Assignment

Marc Jansen jansen.marc at gmx.de
Mon Nov 19 04:04:45 EST 2007

Hi Arnulf,
hi devs,

I (without knowing too much about the legal stuff) think the option with 
copyright transfer to the OSGeo  might be the best choice.  I read the 
document  you suggested in IRC 
and personally think this sounds well.

What is the deal with single files that currently have the copyright 
header set to something else than CCGIS?


-- Marc

Arnulf Christl schrieb:
> Hi All,
> there is some legal stuff that we need to attend to. It is a dry topic 
> so bear with me and I will try to make it as painless as possible. 
> After we all understand the involved issues we should proceed to 
> decide on how to go on.
> Mapbender sources are protected by the GNU GPL license. The initial 
> code was release by the company CCGIS Christl & Stamm GbR who is also 
> the copyright of Mapbender code. As CCGIS merged with two other 
> companies to form the new WhereGroup GmbH & Co. KG. the Copyright now 
> lies with the owners of the WhereGroup. But it does not say so in the 
> sources.
> Now there are several options what we can do about this.
> * Leave as is (not recommended)
> * Change the header in all files and license texts to say WhereGroup 
> GmbH & Co. KG (makes sense but there is no explicitly good reason to 
> do it either)
> * Assign the copyright to OSGeo, change headers accordingly (recommended)
> We (CCGIS and now the WhereGroup) intentionally kept (almost) all code 
> under CCGIS/WhereGroup because it makes things a lot easier than with 
> several individual copyright holders. In the latter case it becomes 
> very difficult to do change the license or the copyright (see the 
> GeoTools example below) or protect developers (something that a 
> Foundation could do) or sue license offenders (something that we would 
> probably never *want* to do either).
> The name of the copyright holder (CCGIS) is not attached to a legal 
> entity anymore (effectively as of the end of this year) we should 
> reflect this in the code header and license texts.
> Therefore the WhereGroup has decided to assign the copyright to the 
> Open Source Geospatial Foundation, something that other projects (for 
> example GeoTools) is also trying to do. They have a lot more issues 
> because unfortunately their copyright is owned by "the developers" 
> which is not a legal entity. They now have trouble assigning copyright 
> to a legal entity because they are not a legal entity. Therefore they 
> are currently working on a document (still pending) that will assign 
> copyright to OSGeo (look for CLA in the OSGeo Wiki). 
> Our position is much clearer because we don't have the copyright 
> distributed all over the place. We (the WhereGroup and some of the 
> developers that I have already talked to individually) would like to 
> go this way and assign copyright to OSGeo and be done with it.
> Well. I thought this would look more coherent! Friday evening is not 
> the best time to start a thread  about this kind of stuff but before I 
> throw it away again please give it a thought. Maybe you can just write 
> to this list and share your opinions ask questions make suggestions 
> word your qualms or whatever.
> Best regards, Arnulf.
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