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Re: Contributor agreements and copyright assignment

Tollef Fog Heen writes ("Re: Contributor agreements and copyright assignment"):
> Wouter Verhelst 
> > Personally, I'm not comfortable signing off my copyright to the FSF, for
> > the very same reason I'm not comfortable signing off copyright to
> > Canonical: while both are led by a person whom so far hasn't show much
> > reason for me to distrust them, it is also true that both leaders have
> > an agenda that I don't completely trust or agree with.
> The FSF is bound by its bylaws.

This is not relevant because the FSF is a self-perpetuating oligarchy.

But what is relevant is that the FSF copyright assignment form
promises that code you assign to them will be released under Free
Software principles.

This is necessarily vague, but it does mean that the FSF do not have
the power to take your code proprietary.  Noone would accept
proprietary software which didn't come with the standard indemnity and
the FSF would be unable to offer that indemnity because of the very
real threat of being sued by incensed Free Software authors.

So it's true that the FSF could go mad, but the forms which their
madness can take are much more limited than the behaviours which
Canonical might plausibly behave in.

So I think the risk of the FSF copyright assignment is much lower.  I
wouldn't sign a Canonical contributor agreement.  I would prefer not
to make the FSF copyright assignment but have done so on occasion -
and I understand why they want it.


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