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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject Re: CCLA: "by combination" language
Date Fri, 02 Jun 2006 12:51:48 GMT
Doug Cutting <cutting@apache.org> wrote on 06/02/2006 12:23:09 AM:

> Jeffrey Thompson wrote:
> > Doug Cutting <cutting@apache.org> wrote on 06/01/2006 11:53:21 AM:
> >  > I don't follow this.  The License is an agreement between the ASF 
> >  > users of Apache software, while the CCLA is an agreement between 
the ASF
> >  > and contributing companies.  I don't see how the license alone can
> >  > enforce the patent grant on a contributor. 
> > 
> > The contributor is submitting the material to Apache under the 
> > So, the license is also an agreement between the contributor and ASF 
> > and the contributor and all users of Apache software.
> You're saying that by slapping the ASF license onto the contribution, 
> the contributor grants a license to any patents implemented by it.  And 
> if the contributor is paid to do this, then his employer is implicitly 
> granting patents that are infringed by the contribution.  Is that right?

As Jim points out, there are situations where its clear that the 
contributor is working on behalf of the employer, so the employer is 
clearly making the grants.  There's also situations where its clear that 
the contributor is working on his/her own time and therefore the employer 
is clearly not involved.  And there's middle ground.

> So, by this logic, I see how the CCLA is not required.  It provides a 
> clearer paper trail, but doesn't actually change the situation much. 
> The license alone is sufficient.

Right, one of the purposes of the CCLA is to make sure everyone agrees as 
to what's going on.  Eliminating any possible misunderstandings is a good 

> This raises the question, if the license is sufficient, why is the ICLA 
> required?  Is this because a committer may contribute only a single line 

> of code, which might not have the license attached to it, or might 
> neglect to attach the license to a file, etc.  Is that right, or is 
> there some more compelling reason to require the ICLA?

Again, primarily (at least in my mind, with which others may disagree) it 
is to eliminate possible misunderstandings.  Its certainly possible to 
contribute to an open source project without ever really looking at the 
license.  With the ICLA, you're asked to read and sign a document.  Not a 
hard thing to do, but it makes you pay attention to the license terms. The 
other point is, while the grants are basically identical, there are a few 
additional housekeeping clauses which wouldn't be relevant in the ASL2.0, 
but make perfect sense in the ICLA (e.g., description of a process for 
submitting third party code).


Staff Counsel, IBM Corporation  (914)766-1757  (tie)8-826  (fax) -8160
(notes) jthom@ibmus  (internet) jthom@us.ibm.com (home) jeff@beff.net
(web) http://www.beff.net/ 

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