Date: prev next · Thread: first prev next last
2010 Archives by date, by thread · List index

On 02/10/2010 Dr. Bernhard Dippold wrote:
Q: What are copyright agreements (CA/JCA/SCA) with Oracle and why are
they counterproductive to and FOSS?

Honestly I would be much more pragmatic here. Since we are on a
catch-all mailing list it's better that I first state a few plain facts
involving Copyright Agreements/Assignments and OOo or Free Software.

1) Oracle will never be able to sue LibreOffice for patent violations,
and this is true thanks to a copyright agreement. OOo 1.x-2.x was
distributed under LGPL 2.1 and Sun could update the licence to LGPL 3,
when OOo 3.x was released, only because of the copyright agreements in
place. The request came from the community (I remember Charles calling
for it), but the actual change was only possible due to copyright
agreements otherwise it would have been impossible to reach out to all
contributors, including dead ones. LGPL 3 (through article 11 of the
included GPL 3) protects LibreOffice from patent claims.

2) Copyright Agreements/Assignments are commonplace in Free Software.
The Free Software Foundation itself required me (like all contributors
to FSF projects) to assign them the copyright of any contributions, see . The Mozilla Foundation, if
I recall correctly, does not require an explicit copyright assignment,
but reserves the right to change the license at any time (MPL, Article
11). Does this mean that contributions to FSF projects or Mozilla
Foundation products can be included in proprietary software at any time
if the relevant Foundation wants so? Yes. Will they ever do that? Here
is the real point.

The main flaw with the (improving over time) Sun/Oracle Copyright
Agreements/Assignments was that the entity in control was a company, not
a democratic, independent, trustworthy foundation. I believe that the
Document Foundation, once formally established, will totally deserve my
trust, and I think I won't have any regrets in sharing with the Document
Foundation the copyright over my contributions, and this will also make
the Document Foundation stronger.

So I would:
A - Remove the "/LibreOffice and FOSS" from the question.
B - Rewrite the answer (I use Jonathon's text as a basis) as:
Contributors to the project have had to sign a contract
that assigns (joint) ownership of their contributions to Sun, and
subsequently Oracle. This enabled Sun/Oracle to include that
contribution in a proprietary product, thus giving to one company
too much control over the project.
C - Kindly ask the the Document Foundation's stakeholders, when they
define the official policy, to avoid presenting Copyright
Agreements/Assignments as inherently bad: very respectable Foundations
promoting Free Software do use them, in the interest of their projects,
and a trustworthy Foundation should not be afraid to ask for them.

Best regards,
  Andrea Pescetti.

To unsubscribe, send an empty e-mail to
All messages you send to this list will be publicly archived and cannot be deleted.
List archives are available at


Privacy Policy | Impressum (Legal Info) | Copyright information: Unless otherwise specified, all text and images on this website are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. This does not include the source code of LibreOffice, which is licensed under the Mozilla Public License (MPLv2). "LibreOffice" and "The Document Foundation" are registered trademarks of their corresponding registered owners or are in actual use as trademarks in one or more countries. Their respective logos and icons are also subject to international copyright laws. Use thereof is explained in our trademark policy.