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From Tor-Einar Jarnbjo <Tor-Ei...@Jarnbjo.de>
Subject CLA issues Was: java.sql.*
Date Fri, 10 Feb 2006 23:47:20 GMT
Geir Magnusson Jr wrote:

> Which code, and what were the terms of the NDA?  The CLA is fairly 
> lightwieght.
> What questions do you have for both? 

I thought I better split this, to prevent the discussion from getting 
too confusing. One thing I already pointed out with the Apache CLA is 
that it is very biased towards US copyright law. I am not a lawyer and I 
really have no clue if US copyright law, German "Urheberrecht" or both 
applies if I, living in Germany, am signing a contract with a US entity. 
The most serious legal crash is probably section 2: "Grant of Copyright 
License". First problem is, that I can't grant you anything I currently 
don't have, a "copyright" on my work. The German counterpart, my 
"Urheberrecht" is not transferable and any license I give to use, 
redistribute, modify etc. the work may under some conditions be revoked. 
Any contract diverging from these principles is in Germany legally void.

Another specific issue related to my proposed Vorbis SPI for JavaSound 
donation, is if you regard third party source code to be classified as 
format documentation . To be more exact, the Vorbis format specification 
from the Xiph Foundation proved to contain several errors and their 
attitude when me pointing it out was, that the reference decoder is the 
only thing to be considered as a formal specification. This means of 
course, that at least when it comes to some estimated 20-40 lines of 
code, my Vorbis decoder implementation is at least "based on" the 
reference decoder from Xiph, which is AFAIK released under a BSD license.

Patent issues are also unclear to me. At this point the CLA is really 
vague (ยง5), only demaning me to represent that my contribution is free 
of any patents that "I am personally aware of". I have absolutely no 
ability to judge on that, which of course fulfils, that I am not 
personally aware of any claims, but depending on the contributors 
knowledge on patent and license law, this paragraph lies somewhere 
between meaningsless and very dependent on which country's patents and 
licenses are to be considered.


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