Re: Foundation and Source Code Copyright

On 8/3/07, Dave Neary <bolsh gnome org> wrote:
> Hi Thomas,
> Thomas Wood wrote:
> > During discussions about copyright at GUADEC several people mentioned
> > that developers were not encouraged to assign copyright to the GNOME
> > Foundation.
> >From my point of view, "not encouraged" isn't the way I see things.
> Certainly no-one has done so so far, and since the mission of the
> foundation is more organisational than technical, the usefulness cound
> be questioned, but I think it's reasonable for the foundation to defend
> the copyrights of its members, and if certain members wis to assign
> their copyright, I wouldn't see any problem with that.

I don't see any conflict with the foundation's mission, but typically
copyright assignment requires execution of a contract, and on the
foundation side, obviously someone needs to keep tract of those
contracts and what code is owned by the foundation. To the best of my
knowledge the Foundation isn't prepared to do this ATM- we have no
assignment contract and no recordkeeping. (In practice, the Foundation
is also probably not prepared to go to court over its copyright, but I
suppose that could be remedied.)

I know that SFLC would be willing to help us formalize a contract and
a system if the board thinks it should be done.

> > A couple of developers, including myself, have been working on a new
> > capplet for the control center. Since we had been working on it as a
> > group we decided it would be fairest to assign copyright to the
> > foundation rather than any particular individual.

You can always jointly own copyright; if you look around CC I'm sure
you'll see lots of files that are (c) both jrb and chema, for example.

> While we have been discussing this issue, we also discovered that many
> of the source files in control center did not have copyright
> statements and those that did were probably out of date and did not
> include the names of all the contributors. Could the foundation advise
> us on what needs to be done and how we could rectify the situation as
> quickly as possible.

You probably don't *need* to do anything- the files are copyrighted by
the authors whether there is a copyright statement or not. But it
certainly wouldn't hurt to do a CVS history on the files in question
and add names and appropriate (L)GPL headers to the files.


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