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From Brian Behlendorf <br...@collab.net>
Subject RE: Copyright text, and javadoc license
Date Mon, 07 Mar 2005 05:31:56 GMT

I would like to find a way to maintain current practice, through a 
combination of defensible reasoning and, if needed, slight modifications 
to existing processes.

On Sat, 5 Mar 2005, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> Copyright automatically subsists and it is owned by the author, whoever that
> author might be (person or corporate entity), regardless of notice. The
> notice allows people to identify the owner. Even if you can't identify the
> owner of a copyrighted work, that doesn't mean it isn't owned. Enforcing
> that copyright is another thing entirely. Nobody forces the owner to enforce
> his copyrights, and he is free to give licenses to whoever he wishes.

The version control systems we use give us the traceability of provenance 
(and a much, much clearer view of exactly who contributed what) than one 
would get if each contributor placed their copyright notices in their 
contributions.  In any court case it would allow us to play back the 
sequence of IP contribution in an extremely rigorous way.  In our current 
practice, we are *not* denying or obscuring the provenance of those 
contributions - those can be discovered by viewing the revision control 
history, which gives you the name of the developer, who we can then trace 
to their signed contributor license agreement.  The fact that contributors 
are not placing their own copyright notices in their CVS or SVN commits 
does not present a problem, other than potentially making it more 
difficult to enforce copyright on that contribution, in theory, 
potentially, without (unless I'm wrong) case law for a situation like this 
to know for sure.

We could add some rigor on the inbound side, asking contributors to be 
clear in their commit message who is owner of their contribution - the 
contributor, their employer (who has signed a CCLA), or someone else, but 
with documented permission or a compatible license.  I'd support such a 
change, so long as the default if no specific copyright is stated is that 
it is owned by the developer.

If we are importing software that was previously released elsewhere, then 
of course we must respect their copyright notices and not remove them from 
the source code.  But I don't see the problem with requiring developers 
who are making their own personal commits to our CVS and SVN repositories 
to leave their own copyright notices out of the code.  Putting it in the 
commit message maintained as metadata in the version control system seems 
like a reasonable compromise.

That leaves remaining the justification for putting "Copyright 2005 The 
Apache Software Foundation" on our releases.  You've said that an 
appropriate place for such a notice is:

> (2) on the CVS data bases containing the Contributions
> collected, selected and arranged in accordance with ASF-authorized
> processes.

...as a collective work.  Presumably you also mean the SVN databases.

Can that copyright also be applied to individual files in the repository? 
Seems like each file is the output of 'ASF-authorized processes', the 
result of arrangement and selection of different patches and 
contributions, with one exception.  So why not also apply the "Copyright 
2005 The Apache Software Foundation", and a reference to the ASL 2.0, to 
the top of every source file?

The one exception I mention above is the initial import of code into the 
repository, code which has not yet benefitted from "selection and 
arrangement in accordance with ASF-authorized processes."  I suggest that 
this code have the copyright notice of the original author, and a 
reference to the ASL 2.0.  When the first change is made to that file, the 
top of that file is then standardized with "Copyright 2005 The Apache 
Software Foundation".

Is this reasonable?

One last note:

> Eventually ASF will probably need the right to change the Apache License 
> 2.0 as ASF's needs change. That result can be accomplished by obtaining 
> an agreement to permit that from the Contributor to ASF. [A sample 
> Contributor Agreement to do that that's only a couple of paragraphs in 
> length is attached.]

Our existing CLA gives us this right.


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