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Re: Licence of commit-block-joke.py, pre-commit-check.py, pre-lock-require-needs-lock.py, tweak-log.cgi

From: Malcolm Rowe <malcolm-svn-dev_at_farside.org.uk>
Date: 2007-10-11 11:19:57 CEST

On Wed, Oct 10, 2007 at 10:58:34AM -0500, Peter Samuelson wrote:
>
> [C. Michael Pilato]
> > Any chance we could just have a policy that says, "If copyright/license are
> > not declared, they default to what Subversion itself uses?"
>
> Well, contributors need to _know_ their contribution is going to be
> licensed in that way, so I suppose this needs to be written down
> somewhere. Something like:
>
> | By posting to this {mailing list / issue tracker} a patch that does
> | not carry a copyright notice, you agree to assign copyright to
> | CollabNet. Further, by posting a patch that does not carry a
> | copyright license, you agree that your work can be distributed under
> | the same terms as Subversion.
>
> Though I wonder if that's enforceable.
>

<IANAL>
No, it's not. You can't assign copyright implicitly: some places (e.g.
the US) require a signed copyright assignment, and some (Germany?) don't
allow for transfer of copyright at all.

So for example, the FSF requires copyright assignments, while the ASF
requires instead that people sign Contributor License Agreements (which
give them much of the benefits of copyright assignation without actually
transferring copyright).

Frankly, most of our copyright notices are lies: the contributions are
really owned (in copyright terms) by the individual contributors or
their (contemporaneous) employees, and not just by CollabNet. I recall
that there was talk of getting signed CLAs to assign rights to
Subversion, Inc., but I don't know whether anyone's driving that.
</IANAL>

Regards,
Malcolm

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