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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@gbiv.com>
Subject a note about indirect contributions
Date Tue, 22 Apr 2008 03:46:44 GMT
I was going to stay out of this (just too tired after ApacheCon) but
upon reading the archive I noted that several people have been
promulgating factual inaccuracies regarding our existing CLAs.
Both our iCLA and cla-corporate says:

    "You" (or "Your") shall mean the copyright owner or legal entity
    authorized by the copyright owner that is making this Agreement
    with the Foundation. For legal entities, the entity making a
    Contribution and all other entities that control, are controlled
    by, or are under common control with that entity are considered to
    be a single Contributor. For the purposes of this definition,
    "control" means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the
    direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or
    otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the
    outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity.

Our Apache License goes into even more detail, but includes the same
words about legal entities.

Note in particular the bits about "the power, direct or indirect, to
cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract
or otherwise".  This says that, for example, if a large company were
to contract with another company for the purpose of knowingly
contributing some intellectual property to the ASF, then the large
company is equally bound by the contribution license by virtue of
that contract.  They are both the "Contributor", as defined by our
licenses, and are equally bound by the contribution licenses.

To be very specific, if SourceSense is indeed being contracted by
Microsoft for the purpose of contributing to POI, then Microsoft is
a Contributor and bound by the terms of our license agreements every
bit as much as SourceSense, even if Microsoft is not the copyright
owner of the Contributions being submitted.  There is no need for
an additional CCLA from Microsoft -- they are already bound by
the intent and actions of their own contract with SourceSense, and
it is SourceSense that must explain their own agreement with the
ASF to any entity that contracts with them.  It is SourceSense that
must have the necessary agreement in place to contribute some other
entity's intellectual property on their behalf.

Our CLAs apply to both copyright and patent licensing.  Please
don't assume that we didn't anticipate indirect contributions
when our licenses were written and agreed to by all signers.

Cheers,

  ...Roy T. Fielding, co-founder, The Apache Software Foundation
     (fielding@apache.org)  <http://www.apache.org/>
     (fielding@gbiv.com)    <http://roy.gbiv.com/>


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