homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam

The Geek Culture Forums


Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Geek Culture Forums   » News, Reviews, Views!   » Rants, Raves, Rumors!   » FSF, copyright +many authors

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: FSF, copyright +many authors
spungo
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1089

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 20:03      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting discussion on /. today: something I've always wondered about. The FSF themselves say that major software projects should transfer copyright to the FSF - as pursuing a violation is complicated when there's many authors.

I've been searching, but I can't find a reference - does transferring copyright to the FSF merely entail entering a FSF copyright statement in your source, or is there an element of consent involved? [Confused] I'm intrigued by this issue, as doing so even for small projects would seem wise - so as to nullify any chance of a loop-hole for code-thieves. Ennit?

--------------------
Shameless plug. (Please forgive me.)

Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alien Investor
Highlie
Member # 242

Member Rated:
4
Icon 10 posted June 12, 2005 13:00      Profile for Alien Investor     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Spungo,

I've executed copyright assignments for some FSF projects.

There's an element of consent involved. And a contract. And a liability clause (which is why they make you sign a contract). And a dollar (which they never paid me!) That's about it.

The deal is: copyright assignments have to be in writing. So you write to the magic address, assignspam at gnuspam dot orgspam, or something like that. You tell them: the nature of the program you are working on; whether you wrote the entire program from scratch; whether you work for somebody writing code (not just this code -- ANY code -- or anywhere you work where you signed a copyright assignment or IP assignment to be employed -- which is damn near everywhere these days).

The assignment clerk snail-mails you an assignment form, you read it, you sign it, you send it back.

When you read the assignment form, you will find a clause that says: if the contributor contributes some code which does NOT actually belong to them, and the FSF gets sued for it, the contributor will pay any damages that the FSF suffers.

FSF does those to protect themselves from SCO-holes and their ilk. They've actually been doing it since inception, 1984, and thus FSF has a very strong legal position if someone tries to attack them.

Because of that liability, I'm not about to contribute any new projects to FSF. When I work on gcc or gdb, though, (not much, lately), I have to have an assignment on file before anybody will look at my contributions.

Posts: 627 | From: New York City | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
spungo
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1089

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted June 12, 2005 16:56      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks a lot AI - that answers my question nicely. [Smile]

It does seem like a rather an unhelpful situation, but one imagines the FSF have an obligation to protect themselves - there would be ample scope for abuse of their goodwill by unscrupulous individuals/organizations if they didn't insist on this (effective) indemnity.

This raises the question of how a new Free Software project should treat its copyright - as any small outfit could conceivably suffer the same pitfall if they were to not employ the same measure.

Sheesh. Perhaps the best solution is for projects to be one-person concerns... which kinda detracts from a rather central ethos of Free Software, doesn't it? [ohwell]

--------------------
Shameless plug. (Please forgive me.)

Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged


All times are Eastern Time  
Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | Geek Culture Home Page

2015 Geek Culture

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.4.0



homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam