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Re: [tdf-discuss] Copyright Assignments & the Document Foundation


----- Original Message ----

From: Thorsten Behrens <thb@documentfoundation.org>
Gianluca Turconi wrote:
I've already suggested that if the copyright  assignment is
considered a too heavy burden, it should be asked to the  contributor
at least a statement that clearly affirms his/her absolute  copyright
rights for the contribution (nobody else can claim nothing  about the
contribution) and includes a indemnity clause ("clausola di  manleva"
in my language) in the unlucky case what he/she stated it isn't  true
and somebody else has valid legal rights for the  contribution.

A "no signature involved, whatsoever" approach is  just too risky, IMO.

Hi Gianluca,

I respect your opinion -  alas, I have a different one. For your
specific example, if someone submits  code to LibO, stating in her
mail "I license this under LGPLv3+ / MPL", and  that later turns out
to be false pretense, that gives you about as much  leverage against
the contributor as if she signs extra documents (at least  for all
practical matters. Sure, you can include huge damages in that  legal
document - but would have to extract it, from a  potential
independent contributor, in the first place). Sueing your 
contributor, in any way, is most likely the lesser of your worries
in  such cases... ;)

Of course, distributors *can* risk if they  want.

And they do. Large portions of the typical Linux stack are  developed
in this, or comparable, ways.


The majority of open source software is developed in that manner.
Only the large formalized organizations do anything different.

And while IANAL, each individual contribution would probably be governed by the 
laws not of where the distributor resides, but of where the contributor resides 
unless the license states otherwise. FSF licenses (GPL, LGPL, etc) do not 
presently state a specific jurisdiction last I was aware. If the laws where the 
distributor resides does not allow that model, then the distributor better move 
to somewhere that does, or cease distribution when that model is employed.

This again goes back to what kind of community do you want?
Do you want a true F/OSS community that is based on trust?
Or do you want a bureaucratic community based on dis-trust?
If you are contemplating the need for suing your contributors then you are 
already in the bureaucratic community landscape.
And if you were to sue a contributor (for any reason) consider what the 
community response may be - if they agree, they'll get behind you; if not, 
they'll leave in droves.

$0.02

Ben


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