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Re: Ask contributors a permission to relicense



On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 12:59:32 +0000 Wols Lists wrote:

[...] 
> On 15/01/12 20:07, Francesco Poli wrote:
[...]
> > As it should already be clear from my previous comments, I think
> > that requiring blanket re-licensing permission from contributors as
> > a prerequisite for accepting contributions to an activity of the
> > Debian Project would be a *very bad* precedent.
> > 
> > I think that such a strategy, if adopted, would alienate a number
> > of existing or future potential contributors.
> 
> I know I'm probably saying the same as Hugo in a different way, but
> what about assigning the copyright,

This has been criticized even more by a number of people (including me).

Anyway, a different (and saner) strategy has already been adopted,
luckily: http://bugs.debian.org/388141#311

> and accepting as payment an
> agreement that the work will only be relicenced within certain
> guidelines, eg saying that it must meet the 2012 DFSG for example.
> 
> Should the project then use the copyright to unacceptably relicence
> the work, they are in breach of contract, the copyright transfer can
> be voided, and the relicence becomes a copyright violation.

I don't think that this would work correctly.

Unfortunately, it is not unusual that different people disagree on what
meets the DFSG and what fails to meet them. Even among people with a
good experience in analyzing licenses.

Hence, the problem is: who is going to evaluate whether a given future
re-licensing is compliant with the DFSG?

SPI? The Debian Project? The FTP-masters?
They are basically the ones who decide the re-licensing: they will
always state (most probably in good faith!) that the decision complies
with the agreement.

The contributor who signed the copyright transfer agreement?
This would open the possibility for a number of future complaints that
could be hard to handle...

> 
> That's the way the FSF do their copyright assigns, auiu.

Actually, I strongly dislike this behavior of the FSF...

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