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From "Jim Barnett" <j...@bea.com>
Subject RE: Corporate Contributions
Date Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:35:40 GMT
Jochen's post gets to the very heart of the issue.  His employer's
reluctance to endorse his extra-curricular software development may be
motivated by a fear that his work "could potentially spread know how
to the outside world."  It is an employer who later discovers the scope
of an employee's participation in an OSS project, and believes that its
trade secrets have been misappropriated or other intellectual property
rights have been violated through the employee's contribution, that is
most likely to assert an adverse claim of ownership.

The teeter-totter looks like this:  On one side we have the "Employer
Consent Requirements" which may be in the form of a CCLA, a quitclaim,
acknowledgement letter, or something equivalent.  As this side gets
loaded up with process and paperwork, and the seat approaches the
ground, protection from submarine IP goes up, but contributor diversity
and numerosity drop.  On the other side we have the community of
contributors made up of corporate contributors, employee-contributors
and freelance contributors.  When that side is fully populated with
contributors of all types, and the seat approaches the ground,
diversity-induced-creativity and independence of projects go up, but
protection from submarine IP is reduced.  The question is "where is the
right balance?"

Another concern that is whether loose controls on individual
contributions deters commercial enterprises from using OSS.  Is an IT
manager less likely to adopt OSS for internal use where he or she
believes there is a greater possibility of a third party undisclosed
employer accosting them for royalties.  Didn't SCO also go after Linux
users like Daimler-Chrysler?

Jim  

       

-----Original Message-----
From: Jochen Wiedmann [mailto:jochen.wiedmann@gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2005 5:46 AM
To: Geir Magnusson Jr.
Cc: legal-discuss@apache.org
Subject: Re: Corporate Contributions

On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 08:39:00 -0500, Geir Magnusson Jr.
<geirm@apache.org> wrote:

> In your case, what does this mean that you can't get a "formal
> agreement" from the legal dept?  Is that related to your employment
> contract / agreement?  Does this mean that there are rights that they
> hold and don't want to give up?  Or does it mean that our CCLA is too
> broad/narrow/wrong/whatever?  (I've heard feedback about our CCLA to
> that end...)
> 
> Is there some other kind of document we could create to help this?

It is very simple: My work for the ASF isn't recognized well. My boss
would definitely prefer me to play soccer or do whatever in my spare
time, but not write software, which could potentially spread know how
to the outside world. They accept it, that's all. But *help* me by
*formally signing* a document, that doesn't pay a single cent to the
company? Why should they?

Jochen

-- 
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, its too dark to read.
(Groucho Marx)

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