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From "Berin Loritsch" <>
Subject RE: [LAW] Quick Lesson in Copyright Law (was RE: copyright for docs [was: Re: [Bugs] URLSource])
Date Mon, 20 May 2002 14:24:01 GMT

> From: Diana Shannon [] 
> On Monday, May 20, 2002, at 09:09  AM, Berin Loritsch wrote:
> > BTW, if you place the Copyright by Apache Software 
> Foundation tag on 
> > your documentation (as will be done when published on the 
> site), you 
> > have effectively donated your copyright to the ASF.
> My point: authors aren't placing "copyright by Apache..." text within 
> their contribution source files. The Cocoon web site, by default, 
> currently adds this copyright tag via transformation. Thus, we should 
> make it very clear to authors (by pointing them to a revised 
> contrib.xml, etc.) *before* they contribute. I'll go ahead and update 
> instructions, templates, and contrib.xml, etc. as appropriate.

That can be a problem for items submitted via a patch, or from

> Otherwise, without this disclosure, it's *not* reasonable 
> (from a legal 
> perspective) for Apache to conclude authors are donating the 
> copyright 
> to their works. For example, what if an author contributes a 
> work with 
> personal copyright info already on it? We can't just assume 
> the Apache 
> copyright overrides it, can we, if we don't clarify copyright details 
> ahead of time?

Committers are aware of the implications of their work in the CVS
meaning that they implicitly donated the code to the ASF.  That is
part of the agreement they are forced to sign.

> Seems to me if authors want to retain copyright to their works, they 
> should publish them elsewhere. We can still provide links to such 
> off-site works from the Cocoon web site.

Absolutely.  We should assume that if the documentation was submitted
for inclusion in CVS, that those documents are donated to the ASF.  We
do need a disclosure page (as you noted) that specifically says that.
Therefore, no author can retain their right to extract royalties from
their documentation if it is available freely on the Cocoon web site.

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