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From "Cliff Schmidt" <cliffschm...@gmail.com>
Subject CLA update
Date Mon, 11 Dec 2006 11:37:50 GMT
For those on this list who enjoyed the debate earlier this year on the
proper interpretation of our iCLA/cCLA's patent grant, I thought it
would be helpful to provide a brief update:

The CLA's current wording is obviously not as clear as it needs to be,
as we've had very different interpretations of the wording on this
list by both developers and lawyers, inside and outside of the ASF.
While a new revision of the CLA would address this problem, we still
need to address the question of how to interpret the current version.

The approach I was previously taking on this list was to provide a
current interpretation, based on discussions with the ASF counsel and
board members.  The idea was to consider the possible interpretations,
choose one of them, validate it with the understanding of
patent-owning signatories to the CLA, and make sure that all future
parties enter into the contract with the same understanding of the
promises being made.

This approach becomes a problem if the ASF's interpretation today is
any different than it has been in the past.  Even if every
person/company signing the CLA had a shared understanding with the ASF
at the time they entered into the agreement, changes in the
interpretation creates uneven terms for different parties and could
lead to confusion over which interpretation applied to which party.

Therefore, I believe the best approach is to clearly document the
earliest understanding between parties of the intention of the patent
grant, and then work on a new revision to the CLA to apply to future
contributions by new and existing contributors.  The current plan is
to make the former document available as soon as possible, and to then
begin to discuss the latter.

Cliff

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