volunteer copyright assignment / licensing agreement

David Pratt david.pratt at tidesdk.org
Fri Feb 15 19:12:25 UTC 2013

In our license headers we identify SPI in the copyright but together
with those that contributing code. So there is no one copyright holder
but a collection. We use WebKit in our project and we see this similar
scenario where multiple folks or company that contribute each have a
copyright under the license agreed for the project. For example, we do
this and when contributors make changes, their copyright is added to
the files add or modify.

* Copyright (c) 2012 Software in the Public Interest Inc (SPI)
* Copyright (c) 2012 David Pratt
* Copyright (c) 2012 Mital Vora
* Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
* you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
* You may obtain a copy of the License at
*   http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
* Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
* distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
* See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
* limitations under the License.


On Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM, Bdale Garbee <bdale at gag.com> wrote:
> Stefano Zacchiroli <leader at debian.org> writes:
>> 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?
> The answer should be yes, but I don't recall any specific incidents in
> which SPI formally accepted transfer of copyright from an individual.
> As a result, I think we would need to speak to our SFLC friends about
> exactly what form such a contribution agreement should take and what
> record keeping we need to engage in.
> Frankly, I've never been a fan of copyright assignment.  While I'm sure
> there are cases in which it makes sense for someone to want to assign
> their copyrights to SPI, I would want to have a per-incident discussion
> with the individual(s) in question before we blindly start accepting
> such assignments, to be sure the best interests of the Free Software
> community are actually being served by such assignment.
> Bdale
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