[OpenAFS] On contributor agreements

Simon Wilkinson sxw@inf.ed.ac.uk
Mon, 8 Sep 2008 11:20:57 +0100

On 7 Sep 2008, at 13:55, Derrick Brashear wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 7:34 PM, Russ Allbery <rra@stanford.edu> wrote:
>> "Buhrmaster, Gary" <gtb@slac.stanford.edu> writes:
>>> Would a more lightweight process be acceptable, in
>>> that any code needs to be accompanied by the
>>> equivalent of the Linux "Developers Certificate
>>> of Origin" signoff (by the developer)?
>>> That puts the onerous on the submitters to insure
>>> that their submissions meets their (and/or their
>>> employers) requirements.
>> I think that's the sort of agreement that Derrick has in mind (as  
>> opposed
>> to the FSF-style copyright assignment, which however nice in the  
>> abstract
>> would be a major pain and isn't really tenable).  Personally, I'd  
>> rather
>> sign it once rather than providing a new copy with each code  
>> submission,
>> since I can readily agree to something like that.
> I assume an Apache-style grant (not assignment)
> http://www.apache.org/licenses/icla.txt
> would be acceptable, though?

I think the copyright license grant in this:
    You hereby grant to the Foundation and to
    recipients of software distributed by the Foundation a perpetual,
    worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable
    copyright license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of,
    publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute Your
    Contributions and such derivative works.

has the problems I discussed in my earlier email. It grants the  
Foundation specific rights which aren't granted to other users, and  
allows the Foundation to sub-license code under commercial licenses  
(and yes, I have read the non-profit, public benefit, section  
earlier, but I can't see how that offers any concrete protection  
against this).

I can also see the Patent License grant in the paragraph after that  
being problematic.

Why do we need a contributor agreement that goes beyond saying that  
the contributor is legally permitted to provide the contribution  
under the chosen license?