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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: Committer refuses to remove copyright notices in source (ESME-47), how best to solve?
Date Mon, 11 Jan 2010 17:03:38 GMT
Daniel Kulp asked:
> Thus, why does our NOTICE file have:
> 
> Copyright 2006-2010 The Apache Software Foundation


See 17 USC 404(a):

   A separate contribution to a collective work may bear its own notice of 
   copyright, as provided by sections 401 through 403 [17 USC § §401-403]. 
   However, a single notice applicable to the collective work as a whole 
   is sufficient to invoke the provisions of section 401(d) or 402(d), 
   as applicable with respect to the separate contributions it contains 
   (not including advertisements inserted on behalf of persons other than 
   the owner of copyright in the collective work), regardless of the 
   ownership of copyright in the contributions and whether or not they 
   have been previously published.

Section 401(d) and 402(d) provide that copyright notices have evidentiary weight. In other
words, the presence of a notice prevents someone from claiming that his/her infringement was
innocent (i.e., "I didn't know I was infringing"). Copyright notices aren't actually required
but they help in this way.

17 USC 405(c) also provides:

   Removal of notice. Protection under this title is not affected by the 
   removal, destruction, or obliteration of the notice, without the 
   authorization of the copyright owner, from any publicly distributed 
   copies or phonorecords.

For that reason, our contributors needn't worry about their copyrights being affected because
ASF removes their copyright notices. However, I have said previously, as my personal opinion,
that our policy ought to be to retain contributors' copyright notices somewhere obvious (in
the NOTICE file, or leave them where you found them?), if only to provide as much historical
information as possible to determine the original provenance of the code.

> Most just to satisfy my own curiosity.   Might as well try and learn
> something new today.    :-)

I hope you did. :-)

/Larry



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daniel Kulp [mailto:dkulp@apache.org]
> Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 8:32 AM
> To: legal-discuss@apache.org
> Subject: Re: Committer refuses to remove copyright notices in source
> (ESME-47), how best to solve?
> 
> On Mon January 11 2010 3:46:14 am Bertrand Delacretaz wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM, Jochen Wiedmann
> > > Beg your pardon, but why is the committer the "copyright owner"? My
> > > understanding is that sources can only enter the incubator after
> > > assignment of copyrights to the ASF, at which point the ASF is, at
> > > least, *a* copyright owner with the right to perform arbitrary
> > > modifications?
> >
> > No - as per http://www.apache.org/licenses/icla.txt ("2. Grant of
> > Copyright License") which is what committers sign, they only grant a
> > copyright license to the ASF, but all committers keep copyright
> > ownership of their contributions.
> 
> On a related note to solve my own curiosity.....
> 
> If committers retain the copyrights to everything they commit, then, in
> theory, everything in svn is copyright the committers working on it and
> not
> the ASF.   Thus, why does our NOTICE file have:
> 
> Copyright 2006-2010 The Apache Software Foundation
> 
> Is that for the "collective work" (aka: the distribution)?   Even that
> would
> be built and such on my machine and signed with my personal keys and
> such.
> 
> Most just to satisfy my own curiosity.   Might as well try and learn
> something
> new today.    :-)
> 
> --
> Daniel Kulp
> dkulp@apache.org
> http://www.dankulp.com/blog
> 
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