volunteer copyright assignment / licensing agreement

Stefano Zacchiroli leader at debian.org
Sun Feb 10 13:09:27 UTC 2013

On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 10:26:53AM +0100, Joerg Jaspert wrote:
> On 13117 March 1977, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> > As it has been requested by Debian contributors, I'd like to know if SPI
> > offers the possibility, to contributors of affiliated projects, to
> > transfer copyright (or specific rights) to SPI. If yes: how?
> Well. Take a look at the footer of a random page on www.debian.org,
> packages.debian.org, qa.debian.org and who knows what else, I would say
> SPI is already doing that for as long as one can remember...

Right. So the question is indeed what value there is in "random"
contributors of affiliated projects simply using SPI in copyright
notices. I say "random" here because in the example you mention of the
www.debian.org website, there are several contributors which are not
even affiliated with Debian, they just happen to have an account on
alioth. I'm not sure if they qualify as (indirect) SPI members and, as a
consequence, I'm not sure what validity there is in a simple copyright
notice. (Especially considering that the real copyright ownership is
independent from what the copyright notice says.)

Some clarifications from SPI legal counselors on this would be

FWIW, the case of actual code contributions is a bit more worrisome for
me than the website case. Arguably, I see as much more probable that one
will want to enforce copyright for code contributions, for instance in
GPL violation cases, than for, say, website translation contributions.

So while I somehow could understand people turning a blind eye on lax
copyright assignments policies up to know, having only the website as a
use case, I'd be much more reluctant in doing the same for significant
code contributions.

Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack at upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Debian Project Leader . . . . . . @zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »
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