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From Rick Jelliffe <rjelli...@allette.com.au>
Subject Open Contribution: Question about clarifying license status of code contributed in email and mail-lists
Date Thu, 30 Oct 2008 09:13:08 GMT
Member David Crossley suggested that it might useful to bring up an 
issue on this list.

I represent some long running open source projects, and recently we have 
been working through some issues with an eye to becoming an Apache 
project at some stage.

What is the problem trying to be solved?  That *perhaps* the law (in 
some jurisdictions) will not recognize that submitting code in a 
mail-list or other forum to an open source project (for a bug fix or 
enhancement or technique) by some-one who knows that the project is open 
source and whose intent is obviously that this code could be used 
(otherwise why would they submit it?) does not thereby give permission 
to use it. (IANAL but this  seems entirely dubious to me, though perhaps 
if it is being done on company time there may be some other  angle.)  So 
therefore, regardless of whether the Apache project takes off, we might 
do well to err on the side of caution and make any permissions explicit 
on our non-Apache or pre-Apache mail-lists.

So I am investigation this approach: all the mailing lists to include 
notices as part of sign-up noting that it is a condition of usage that 
sending code involves permission to use.

IANAL, but I am thinking along these lines:

"Open Contribution: 1) By subscribing to this list or forum, the 
subscriber grants permission to use any code samples, algorithms, 
methods, data structures, text, bug statements, instance fragments or 
other material posted to this list in any project with a license 
approved by the Open Source Initiative 
(http://www.opensource.org/licenses).

2) The user further agrees to sign any explicit contributor agreement, 
should this be required by such projects, if asked, without giving up 
their own copyright.

3) Nothing in this note should be construed as implying any lack of 
implied permission to use such material in this list or forum before 
this note was published."

This is not an issue of Contributor License agreements. Any improvements 
or comments are very welcome.

Cheers
Rick Jelliffe



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