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From Martin Desruisseaux <martin.desruisse...@geomatys.fr>
Subject Advice on relicensing our own work to Apache 2
Date Sat, 28 Jul 2012 14:06:21 GMT
Hello all

We would like an advise on our ability to re-license our own work to 
Apache 2 for donation to an Apache project. For the context, our 
discussion in the Apache project can be seen there:

(see the "Exploring possible contribution" thread)

There is the situation:


     From 1997 to 2002, I worked on a personal project called "Seagis"
    under LGPL license.


    In 2002 I joined a new project called "GeoTools 2" and transferred
    the totality of Seagis code to GeoTools 2. The project license is
    LGPL 2.1.


    Until 2008 they were no legal foundation - consequently the
    copyrights belonged to their authors.


    In 2008 I was the most ancient active GeoTools 2 contributor and the
    most active one according Ohloh statistics on Subversion commits.
    Myself or peoples working with me in our company were the author of
    about 40% of the GeoTools 2 code base at that time.


    In January 2008 we signed a Copyright Assignment to the OSGeo
    foundation (http://download.osgeo.org/osgeo/legal/). OSGeo is a
    non-profit organisation similar to Apache, devoted to the promotion
    of open source softwares. Copyright Assignment is not the usual way
    to contribute to OSGeo projects; other projects (to my knowledge)
    use the Contributor Agreement
    (http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Contributor_Agreement) which does not
    transfer copyright. We signed a Copyright Agreement on a voluntary
    basis in the good faith that it would be in the project interest.


    In June 2008 we started a fork of GeoTools 2 based mostly - but not
    entirely - on our own work. At first it was aimed as a branch for
    doing cleaning work. But in 2009, disagreements with some other
    GeoTools members made the fork permanent.


    Now we would like to give those 15 years of work to the Apache
    foundation. There is no contentious about the work done after June
    2008. Our issue is about the work we did before June 2008, because
    of the copyright assignment. We asked to OSGeo the permission to
    re-license our own work from LGPL 2.1 to Apache 2, with all other
    contributions removed. To date, we didn't got a formal answer from
    the OSGeo board. The board seems to wait for the position of the
    GeoTools Project Management Committee. However the debate on the
    GeoTools committee mailing list suggests that the competitive threat
    that an Apache project could be is a significant factor influencing
    their decision.

While we will wait for OSGeo formal position, we would like to prepare 
ourselves to alternatives. I would appreciate pretty much advice on the 
following point:

    Does the following paragraph in the Copyright Assignment grants
    re-licensing rights to the contributor for his own work? "The
    Foundation hereby grants the Contributor the non­exclusive,
    perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty­free, license to use,
    copy, prepare derivative works of, publicly display or perform, and
    distribute the Submission."

Any advice would be appreciated.



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