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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: To IP Clearance? or not?
Date Thu, 31 Jan 2013 19:49:41 GMT
Benson Margulies wrote:
> The issue here is the absolute requirements that all code 
> contributions be _voluntary_. The policy has been that ' very small'
> bits of code under 'category A' licenses can be committed, but, if 
> it's larger than small, it must be actively contributes by its author.
> Whether we need IP clearance is again a matter of judgement based on 
> size.

The only  legal IP issue here is whether ASF can *rely* (for IP clearance
purposes) on something *other than an intentional contribution*? The answer
is "yes" with certain IP notices required to protect our projects and our
downstream users. As I understand it, our procedures also require certain
due diligence relating to the license of that third-party code. [1] That's
largely settled policy for the Incubator and all other Apache projects.

An intentional contribution is one made to ASF under an ICLA, CCLA or SGA
signed by an individual or organization intentionally contributing code to
us. We rely on those promises.

Even if some code we need is not *intentionally contributed* to Apache, we
can reach out on the web and take any copy of it made available to the
public under an open source license.  There is no reason to ask the author
of that code for his or her additional permission or consent. The license is
sufficient to rely on for IP clearance purposes.

There may be, in some Apache projects, additional policy issues whether to
import large blocks of code available under FOSS licenses or whether to
start from scratch. But I don't believe this is an IP clearance problem.

/Larry

[1] http://www.apache.org/legal/resolved.html 

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com)
3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482
Office: 707-485-1242


-----Original Message-----
From: Greg Stein [mailto:gstein@gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 9:09 AM
To: legal-discuss@apache.org
Subject: Re: To IP Clearance? or not?

On Jan 31, 2013 11:47 AM, "Benson Margulies" <bimargulies@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 4:38 PM, David Nalley <david@gnsa.us> wrote:
> > Hi folks:
> >
> > CloudStack is currently discussing adding some code which includes 
> > some chunks of 3rd party code that is licensed under ALv2. [1]
> >
> > Essentialy the situation is:
> >
> > * Developer found some ALv2 code that fit a specific need from a 
> > non-ASF open source project that is in the same space.
> > * Developer modified that code to work in CloudStack
> > * Developer submitted that for review/inclusion, at which point 
> > someone noted the Copyright attributions and our discussion began.
> > * If accepted (and I think the assumption is that it would be) the 
> > code would be included in the CloudStack codebase and distributed in 
> > future CloudStack releases.
> > * The total line count is around 1500 lines of code that wasn't 
> > developed specifically for CloudStack
>
> The issue here is the absolute requirements that all code 
> contributions be _voluntary_. The policy has been that ' very small'
> bits of code under 'category A' licenses can be committed, but, if 
> it's larger than small, it must be actively contributes by its author.
> Whether we need IP clearance is again a matter of judgement based on 
> size.
>
> It strikes me as too big to be collected without active participation 
> from the author, but I leave it to others to comment on whether it's 
> big enough to require full IP clearance.

No no... You're talking about code that arrives with the intent on
*moving* its locus of development to the ASF. The IP clearance is needed to
ensure we have the necessary rights to do the work here. It sounds like this
is (and will remain) a third-party library. That its development location
isn't moving here.

If the code is merely a dependent library, pulled into our version control
for ease of packaging, then that's just fine. In httpd, we do that with
PCRE. In APR, we do that with Expat. There is ample precedent, as long as
the code is properly marked (ie. leave all of its headers alone, noting the
correct copyright holder and license).

If the code is a third-party library, and further work is intended, then I
would suggest a vendor branch. Check in the original library onto a vendor
branch, copy that into trunk, and apply changes into trunk. For "large"
modifications (for some suitable definition of "large"), then it may be
desirable to apply additional ASF headers into the files, noting "portions
are copyright ASF, and subject to ALv2" (or whatever the right text is; you
get the idea)

So... IP clearance in this situation depends on long-term intent, I would
say.

Cheers,
-g

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