Re: Candidates question: Contributor agreement

Copyright assignments to one organization put that organization in a
strong position to enforce the GPL in court, because it can claim
copyright over the whole work.  The FSF's lawyers advised us to get
copyright assignments for contributions to our packages saying it
would reduce uncertainty in enforcing the GPL.

GNOME does not have to do this, but it might be a good idea for the
GNOME Foundation to ask for copyright assignments for certain
components.  Maybe there has been little GPL violation for GNOME, but
that might change if mobile devices start using it.

The FSF copyright assignments put binding requirements of good conduct
on the FSF.  For instance, we must provide source code and allow
redistribution.  We designed these requirements to give contributorsd
a basis to trust us in addition to knowing we act on principle.
The GNOME Foundation could do likewise.

When companies ask for copyright assignments, they may be seeking
to use your code in proprietary software.  Here's an article
that suggests what to look for when thinking about that question.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use free telephony

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