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About license of sork modules

I'm adding a CC to debian-legal, the Debian ML for legal issues.

On Sun, Apr 30, 2006 at 09:08:30PM -0400, Chuck Hagenbuch wrote:
> Quoting Gregory Colpart <reg@evolix.fr>:

>> Perhaps, I should ask this in all (core|drivers) developers listed
>> in CREDITS file (but copyright in LICENSE file is for "The Horde
>> Project" and copyright in PHP files are for Eric Rostetter).

> Well, you guys are the license experts, so you tell us: does the
> stated copyright in the license and code trump individual
> contributors if there's no paper (or email) trail of copyright
> assignment?

I'm not sure I understand your question, but here are a few statements
that may answer it.

 - In general, there is no copyright assignment / transfer unless
   there is consent by the author to transfer the copyright. This
   consent can be indirect, such as in a work contract, a highly
   visible Horde patch policy, ...

 - One could argue that if someone submits a patch that changes code,
   but does not add him as a copyright holder, then he agreed to
   copyright assignment. I wouldn't know if this would hold any water
   in any country, but I'd think you'd be at the very least on very
   thin ice there.

 - Small patches are usually deemed not to benefit from copyright
   protection. The GNU project uses the limit of 10 lines to define

 - I'd feel pretty confident in saying that anybody submitting a patch
   to you has thereby agreed to license this patch under the project's

If there is no copyright assignment (or authorisation of relicensing
in another form), you have to get consent of all copyright holders to
change the license. I'd expect you have a trail of those, even if in
an impractical format: CVS commit logs (said who committed, hopefully
enough discipline to mention it in the log when committing code
written by another person), and your bug tracking system (shows who
submitted what patch).


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