Re: Copyright assignment

On Mon, 2004-08-02 at 14:37 -0400, Joe Shaw wrote:
> As far as I can tell, the only real negative impact of copyright
> assignment on an individual is that there *is* the possibility that
> one's contributions could be used in a proprietary fashion at the
> company's discretion.

Not so much is a pure proprietary fashion, since they do still need to
license it under the GPL.  The primary danger is the ability to
circumvent the bundling clauses of the GPL.  By assigning copyright, you
let Novell/Ximian/Possibly Sun in the future distribute your GPL-
licensed code as part of a proprietary project, derived work, or
combined work without opening up the rest of the project.

Basically it amounts to licensing you code under the BSD license to
Ximian, and under the GPL license to everyone else (there are still
significant differences of course, but I think this helps to elucidate
the point).  Now, the BSD is a fine license, to be sure, but surely
there was a reason we chose to use the GPL in the first place, no?

Imagine: Sun buys Novell, and acquires Evolution code.  Evolution code
is licensed to Microsoft under a proprietary license.  Evolution code
gets included in the next version of Outlook.  The GPL normally would
protect us from the scenario; under copyright assignment it would not.

Now, contrary to what you may think, I don't necessarily believe that
copyright assignment should bar Evolution from the desktop.  I just
think that it's very important that the community understand what its
getting itself into.  Nobody denies the committment of the Evolution
hackers, who by all accounts are Pimp Daddy Mastas.


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