Re: Copyright assignment

Speaking only to precedent

GNOME owns no copyrights that I know of (simply putting "Copyright GNOME
Foundation" in your source files doesn't transfer ownership legally).  

Therefore, every single line of GNOME code is owned by a party who is
not GNOME.  And each of those parties could independently decide to
relicense their code under a license which does not have the derivative-
work requirements of the GPL.

GNOME requires certain parts of the Mozilla project; Mozilla has
required copyright assignment.

So, there's no precedent in GNOME for denying inclusion to projects
which are owned by non-GNOME parties or which ask that contributors
assign copyright to a third non-GNOME party.  In fact, precedent goes
the other way on this issue.

Speaking to Novell's intent

I'll echo what Joe and Miguel said here; Novell has a 12-month track
record of being far more open with its source code policies than even
Ximian was before.  We open sourced our Exchange connector, iFolder,
Ximian's former build system, and YaST.

Our intent in asking for assignment on Evolution is to ensure that there
is a single copyright holder so that we can handle claims against
Evolution efficiently, and to allow us the possibility of linking
Evolution source code with non-free code in the future, like we did with
the Exchange connector.  This is documented pretty well in the
assignment form, for which Joe provided the URL.


If Novell were to become "evil" at some point, you still have the source
code, you can fork it, and contributors who signed copyright assignment
forms have almost all of the rights of copyright ownership.  This
includes the right to relicense the code under other licenses, to use it
in other projects, etc.

There's no need to force assignment of copyright to the GNOME
foundation, and I think you'd have a really hard to convincing Novell to
do that.  Similarly, there are thousands of copyright holders in GNOME,
and it'd be pretty asymmetric not to ask that they reassign their
copyrights as well.


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