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From Marvin Humphrey <mar...@rectangular.com>
Subject Re: Groovy not allowed to include its "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License" licensed documentation in the distribution? (was: Re: [Apache Creadur/RAT-206] Request to add support for Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike / wh...
Date Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:41:25 GMT
On Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 6:11 AM, Alex Harui <aharui@adobe.com> wrote:
> IMO, it depends on whether the Grant was executed correctly.  I am not the
> expert like Bertrand, but I remember this from my incubation days:  The
> initial code base was “owned” by Adobe, but was already open source and had
> accepted contributions from several people.  Before I submitted the grant, I
> needed to convince the legal team at Adobe that all contributors had signed
> an agreement that gave Adobe the right to donate their contribution.  That
> was, in fact, part of the contributors agreement folks had to sign before
> Adobe would accept their patches so we were good to go, but it left me with
> the impression that not all contribution agreements give the right to
> donate.  In fact, for a portion of the code Adobe had received as part of an
> acquisition of a  smaller company, the terms of the acquisition were not
> explicit that Adobe could donate the acquired code, so we had to go back and
> get signatures from the owners of the acquired code.
>
> Some contributor agreements give one entity a license to use some code, but
> don’t give that entity the right to give others a license to that code.
> What documentation do you have on the agreement for the contributors of the
> CC files?

For a open source codebase which is already under ALv2 and has many copyright
holders, tracking down every last contributor and getting them to sign the SGA
is a costly exercise with questionable benefit.  In the case of Groovy, the
SGA is only signed by a single contributor.  It's my understanding that the
importation of Subversion followed this model, as it was mentioned as
precedent.  Here is the head of the general@incubator discussion thread:

  http://s.apache.org/4NM

The flawed assumption we were operating under, though, was that the
intellectual property being imported was entirely ALv2.  In this case, the
code is all ALv2, but the docs are not.

The consequence is that the Groovy SGA is *not* sufficient to allow issuing
the documentation files under an ALv2 license -- they must remain available
under only the existing CC-BY-SA license for now.  Instead, it will be
necessary to contact all the contributors and get them to sign an SGA.

I am relieved to hear an estimate that there are "20 or so" such contributors.
Coordinating a 20-person SGA, though tedious, is a reasonable undertaking.

The Incubator should revisit its practices around such multi-party SGAs and
augment the process with additional safeguards.  Ideally this issue should
have been caught prior to the VOTE to accept Groovy for incubation, allowing
both the Incubator PMC and the Groovy community to make a more informed
decision about the requirements of incubating at Apache.  Despite our best
efforts over an extended discussion period, multiple opportunities were
missed.

On a practical note for the folks reading this on legal-discuss@apache: When I
coordinated an 18-entity SGA back in 2010, best practices were not clear for
executing an SGA with multiple geographically dispersed copyright holders.
(Clearly you don't want to be shipping a single paper document all over the
globe.)  Has the process been formalized since then?

Marvin Humphrey

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