[Cabal] Copyright assignment

Richard Laager rlaager at wiktel.com
Tue Jan 16 16:42:53 EST 2007

On Tue, 2007-01-16 at 13:26 -0800, Sean Egan wrote:
> Hey guys,
> I've been going over all the tax exempt paperwork.
> The lawyers recommend requiring copyright assignment for contributors,
> and that we try to get as much current code assigned to IM Freedom as
> possible. This is, obviously, so that we can better protect our rights
> over it (the same reason the FSF does it, for instance). We should be
> able to make it really easy for contributors to do this. Google has a
> web form that apparently is adequate.
> I'll definitely be asking the lawyers more about this, but I wanted to
> gauge your opinions first. Is requiring copyright assignment something
> you guys are in favor for? Dead against? Somewhere in the middle?

There are a few problems I have with this:

1. It needs to be clear that the new copyright holder can't change the
license to something non-free. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems that
standard contract language would be sufficient here.

2. I wouldn't want to give up rights to use my code elsewhere. This can
be remedied by having standard boilerplate re-granting the rights
reserved by copyright, with the right to non-exclusively sublicense (or
whatever lawyers say is right).

3. If I did use my code elsewhere, I'd have no right to sue someone for
violating my copyright. Only IM Freedom, Inc. could do that. I don't see
any way to avoid this problem.

In practice, I'm probably not dead against this.


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