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From Geir Magnusson Jr <g...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: CLA issues Was: java.sql.*
Date Sun, 12 Feb 2006 18:40:55 GMT

Tor-Einar Jarnbjo wrote:
> 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.

Well, the ASF is a US Corporation (non-profit) so those are the laws 
under which we operate.

> 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.

We aren't asking for a copyright transfer.  You still retain any and all 
copyright on the work.  What you are doing is granting a license to the 
work under the Apache License.

> 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.

Yes, it's a BSD license.  We think that's good :)  We'd have no 
problems, because the software that is derivative of a BSD work is yours 
to license as you see fit.  It's your IP.

> 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.

Interesting.  I find section 5 straightforward :

- you attest that your contributions are your original work (IOW, you 
aren't contributing the work of someone else...)

- you will provide complete details of any kind of restrictions *that 
you are aware of*.  So this could be limits on the work because while it 
is your original work, it was a work for hire - paid for and owned by 
someone else.  Or you implemented a patent.

If you don't know of any patents on the work, don't go looking for them. 
    We're not asking you to guarantee that there is no patent 
encumbrance, just that if you know of any, you tell us.


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