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Re: Contributor agreements and copyright assignment

On Tue, Dec 04, 2012 at 12:42:33PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Bjørn Mork <bjorn@mork.no> writes:
> > IANAL, but I believe you are wrong there.  You give them much wider
> > rights than this by assigning the copyright to the FSF.  The copyright
> > owner is free to relicense the work in any way they want.
> Have you see the copyright assignment contract that you make with the FSF?
> It would be a breach of that contract for them to relicense the work in
> any way they want.  The contract really does try to address this issue.

Yes, but the FSF can still license my (theoretical) contributions under
the GNU FDL, and that's enough reason for me never to assign copyright
to them, ever.  I will say that Debian has in some cases missed out on
patches from me because I know the maintainer isn't interested in
carrying them forever and upstream requires a copyright assignment.  It
doesn't help to say, "So fix it yourself and provide a patch," if
nobody's going to accept a patch.

The only work I do where I assign copyright is with my employer.
Otherwise, I think it's rude and insulting to ask for carte blanche (or
a slightly more limited version of it, in the FSF's case) when I don't
get the same in return.

brian m. carlson / brian with sandals: Houston, Texas, US
+1 832 623 2791 | http://www.crustytoothpaste.net/~bmc | My opinion only
OpenPGP: RSA v4 4096b: 88AC E9B2 9196 305B A994 7552 F1BA 225C 0223 B187

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