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From Simon Kitching <skitch...@apache.org>
Subject Re: myCompany copyright
Date Wed, 09 Feb 2005 10:50:54 GMT
On Wed, 2005-02-09 at 10:11 +0000, John Hawkins wrote:
> 
> Hello, 
> 
> I've been told that it is acceptable to put in my company's copyright
> into Apache code. When I read the licence I see that it states that it
> is OK to take a cut of the code and then put a copyright on the pieces
> that I change and then forward to my customers. However, is it
> acceptable to work daily with the CVS repository and put my copyright
> directly into CVS code so that others, who are not necessarily my
> customers, also get that copyright statement? 

Firstly, I am not a lawyer, nor represent the ASF, except insofar as I
am a committer on ASF projects.

I believe that if you modify apache code before shipping to your
customers it is legal, and appropriate, to add something like the
following:
 Portions (c) XXXXXX 2005
as long as you obey all the provisions of the Apache License.

If a company were to develop a large chunk of code (eg a man-year's
worth), then donate it to a project I would think it reasonable for that
code to contain a copyright statement indicating the original author.

Regarding adding a copyright for small modifications to existing code: I
think it's probably legal (as long as you grant a license to use the
code under the ASF license). **HOWEVER** I would strongly recommend
against it, certainly to the extent that I would vote against accepting
any such statement into projects I was a committer in. The reasons are:

* code typically has *many* authors and maintainers. If each was to add
a copyright statement (as would be legally possible) the code would be a
mess.

* such statements discourage any sense of community ownership of the
code.

* such statements weaken the Apache "brand" presented to users of that
code.

* it's rude to those developers on the project who aren't interested in
claiming ownership of communally-developed code when they contribute
their time without expecting overt acknowledgement but someone else is
inserting copyright statements for their (potentially lesser)
contributions.

If a company (eg IBM) does contribute significantly to a project (eg by
funding some full-time developers), I personally think a more
appropriate way to acknowledge this is via an entry in the NOTICE file
associated with the project (though this suggestion should be checked
with others on this list or the appropiate PMC).

Regards,

Simon


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