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From Gianugo Rabellino <gian...@apache.org>
Subject Re: a note about indirect contributions
Date Tue, 22 Apr 2008 13:38:51 GMT

On Apr 22, 2008, at 2:50 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:
> Gianugo Rabellino wrote:
>> On Apr 22, 2008, at 4:45 AM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
>>> This may help soften some concerns.  From our license:
>>>      [...]
>>> Note in particular the bits about "the power, direct or indirect,  
>>> to cause
>>> the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract  
>>> or otherwise".
>>> This says that, for example, if a large company were to contract  
>>> with
>>> another company for the purpose of knowingly contributing some  
>>> intellectual
>>> property to the ASF, then the large company is equally bound by the
>>> contribution license by virtue of that contract.  They are the  
>>> "Contributor".
>> Thanks, Roy. I'm still unclear on how that clause might be  
>> enforceable, though. Maybe it's just me wearing my European lawyer  
>> hat, but I'm not sure I understand how can any third party be  
>> bound by a contract they didn't sign. If Company A contracts  
>> Company B to contribute to Apache, I understand how company B is  
>> bound by a license and a CCLA, but I don't see how you might claim  
>> that Company A is bound as well. Suppose Company A sues the ASF  
>> for copyright/patent infringement: the ASF produces a CCLA by  
>> Company B. Company A claims Company B never mentioned there would  
>> have been such a legal binding, nor Company B had any power to  
>> enter any agreement with third parties on behalf of Company A.   
>> What would the ASF response be in that case? Redirect Company A to  
>> Company B on third-party liability grounds?
> In order for the large company to make use of the specific product,  
> they must agree to the license.

That leaves me puzzled, though. Company A probably wouldn't give a  
rat's backside about using the product, all they care is suing the  
ASF for copyright/patent infringement (I agree they would most likely  
sue Company B for misrepresentation and whatnot), but I really don't  
see how usage would impact this specific case.


Gianugo Rabellino
Sourcesense - making sense of Open Source: http://www.sourcesense.com
Blogging at http://boldlyopen.com/

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