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From Paul Sutton <p...@ukweb.com>
Subject Re: Manual page and copyrights
Date Wed, 19 Feb 1997 11:16:14 GMT
On 18 Feb 1997, Paul Richards wrote:
> Paul Sutton <paul@ukweb.com> writes:
> > I would like to see an explicit statement that all code changes donated to
> > the Apache project become copyright The Apache Group, and remove all
> > personal copyright messages. In some cases, a joint copyright may be
> > acceptable (in particular, mod_rewrite should reasonably remain copyright
> > by Ralf and The Apache Group). This could be part of a coding style for
> > Apache contributors. 
> 
> Why? I see no reason why "The Apache Group" should hold the copyright
> on all code particularly since "The Apache Group" doesn't
> exist. Personally I'd be *very* reluctant to hand over copyright on
> anything I did. As long as the license allows us to do whatever we
> want with it who holds the copyright doesn't matter. That's the
> important issue, the Apache group will *always* be able to do whatever
> they want with the code regardless of what the copyright holder
> subsequently does.

The Apache Group should hold the copyright on all code and documentation
because Apache is a product in it's own right. It is something which has
its own image and identity, something people out there know the name of
and regard as a distinct item (a product, or brand if you like). If we
want to maintain Apache as a leading web server we need to ensure that the
intellectual property rights which it encompasses (including the source
code and documentation) is owned by whoever owns the product or brand. I
think "The Apache Group", as a generic name for whoever is actively
involved in Apache development at the current time is a reasonable entity
to own the copyright in the Apache work. 

> The converse would not be true. If you hand over the copyright to the
> Apache group then as the original author you are *not* allowed to
> re-use that code except under the conditions granted by the Apache
> license.

What I am saying is that if you write a patch for Apache and commit it,
then the resulting code (the original plus the patch) remains copyright by
The Apache Group, rather than by The Apache Group and the patch author. If
this was not the case, every source file would now include portions
copyrighted by dozens of individuals. On a purely practical level, the
overhead necessary to maintain these copyrights in every source file would
be unmanagable. 

> Are you trying to stop people using code they wrote for some other
> project? If not then what's the problem? If you are then what would be
> your reasons for doing so?

I want to ensure that Apache maintains a distinct indentity and that it
protects its own work. I have no objection to people using their own code
for any other purposes, nor indeed do I have any objection to anyone else
using the Apache code under the terms of the Apache license (which pretty
much lets them do what they want with it). 

> This is particularly relevant if a group of people on this list
> incorporate the project thus putting them legally in control of the
> code.

Ahh, this might change things. I was assuming that "The Apache Group" was
the generic name for people actively developing Apache at the current time
on the new-httpd mailing list. Are you saying that a third party or subset
would take over the existing copyrights? Would this not reduce the feeling
of group ownership of Apache which now exists amongst this list and
introduce a two-tier system? 

> > Getting back to the httpd manual page, I still would like to submit my
> > updates, but not to a document copyrighted by anyone other than The Apache
> > Group. If necessary, I will rewrite this document from scratch to
> > eliminate the personal copyright.
> 
> What possible purpose can there be for doing that?

Again, to protect Apache as a product and brand, and ensure that it has no
legacy copyrights or license restrictions that would prevent Apache being
developed in the future in whatever direction the group wants to take it.

//pcs


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