[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Contributor agreements and copyright assignment (was Re: Really, about udev, not init sytsems)

On Dec 01, 2012, at 07:21 AM, Clint Byrum wrote:

>Just any FYI, Canonical no longer requires copyright assignment in their
>CLA. You are still giving Canonical an unlimited perpetual license on the
>code, but you retain your own copyrights.

FTR: http://www.canonical.com/contributors

with embedded links to the actual CLA for individuals and entities (in PDF
form), as well as a FAQ.

This one seems particularly relevant to the current discussion:

    7. What’s different between the new contributor agreement and the old one?

    One difference between the two is that the old agreement was a copyright
    assignment agreement (where the contributor granted ownership of the
    contribution to Canonical), while the new one is a copyright license
    agreement (where the contributor grants permission for Canonical to
    distribute the contribution). One new element is a promise back to the
    contributor to release their contribution under the license in place when
    they made the contribution. The new agreement also features some
    refinements in the language around software patents and in how the
    contributor disclaims warranties.

What I like about this CLA is that you retain your copyrights to the
contribution, so you can do whatever you want with your contribution,
including dual-license it, sell it yourself under a proprietary license, etc.
This deeply appeals to the artist in me.

The CLA also guarantees that your contribution will continue to be available
with the license it was originally granted under.  Meaning, even if Canonical
takes your contribution proprietary and closed, your original contribution
will continue to be available under the original (presumably) FLOSS license.

By comparison, the PSF contributor agreements policy is available here:


with embedded links to the actual form.

Again, there is no copyright assignment.  The choice of initial licenses on
the contribution is more limited, meaning if you have a GPL'd contribution,
you will have to dual license it under the Academic Free License v2.1 or
Apache License v2.0 in order to contribute it to the PSF.  The PSF contributor
agreement says nothing about patents or moral rights, but it does guarantee
that the contribution will be available under a FLOSS license.

None of the terms of either contributor agreements seem particularly onerous
to me, nor should they (IMHO) be an impediment to participating in such


Attachment: signature.asc
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: