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From "P. Taylor Goetz" <>
Subject Re: ICLA/CCLA/SGA guidelines for GitHub or multi-entity projects was: [Groovy] Next steps...
Date Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:42:07 GMT
This seems like an appropriate thread to raise a question that’s been in the back of my head
for a while…

If a new project is created on github (or elsewhere — i.e. outside of the ASF), but with
the intention that it would be contributed to an existing ASF project (ALv2 license from day
1), would a Software Grant and/or IP clearance be required?

Put another way, what are the best practices to follow when creating a new project, outside
the ASF, with the goal of eventually contributing that work to an existing ASF project?

The documentation for the IP clearance template [1] states:

"Any code that was developed outside of the ASF SVN repository must be processed like this,
even if the external developer is an ASF committer.”

To me that sounds like any new module, or even a sufficiently large pull request, requires
IP clearance. If that’s the case, I would expect the clearance document list [2] to be much
longer than it is, and have more ASF projects represented there, especially some of the faster
growing ones.



On Mar 26, 2015, at 11:17 AM, James Carman <> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 10:51 AM, Marvin Humphrey
> <> wrote:
>> If you have a codebase which was not previously under the ALv2 -- say it was
>> either proprietary or available under a different open source license -- then
>> the Software Grant is hugely important from a legal standpoint.  You have to
>> get every last copyright owner to sign it, and if you can't get them all on
>> board you have a mess on your hands that will have to be dealt with.
>> In contrast, from a legal standpoint, a signed Software Grant doesn't change
>> much when the codebase is already under the ALv2.  (Quite possibly it has zero
>> effect but I'd need to ask a lawyer about the text of the Software Grant
>> form to confirm that.)
>> Separate from the legal aspect, we have a social tradition at Apache of only
>> accepting "voluntary contributions".  This prevents social disharmony if
>> somebody doesn't want their contribution to go to a project hosted at the ASF.
>> For Groovy, I agree with Benson.  We already have sufficient informal evidence
>> that the Groovy community at large has granted social approval for the move to
>> Apache.  The software grant does not change much about the legal status of the
>> codebase.  Let's not get hung up on who has to sign it.
> Right, but this thread (renamed) isn't about Groovy.  What I was
> trying to do is tease out more information about these sorts of
> situations, so that we can maybe put together some clear
> documentation.  If that documentation says "when this situation comes
> up, please ask for help as they need to be evaluated on a case-by-case
> basis", then that's fine.  If this were cut and dry, we probably
> wouldn't be 18 messages deep into this thread.
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