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From Tao Effect <cont...@taoeffect.com>
Subject Serious problem with the Apache Contributor's License Agreement (CLA) v2.0
Date Sat, 14 Sep 2013 23:38:46 GMT
Hi list,

I recently finished a rather long exchange with Numenta, Inc. on a matter related to a paragraph
taken from the Apache CLA v2.0.

Numenta's CLA borrows most of its legal text from the Apache CLA, with relatively minor changes.

I noticed a rather alarming paragraph related to the granting of a patent license (emphasis
mine):

Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, You hereby grant to Numenta and to
recipients of software distributed by Numenta a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge,
royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have
made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where such license
applies only to those patent claims licensable by You that are necessarily infringed by Your
Contribution(s) alone or by combination of Your Contribution(s) with the Work to which such
Contribution(s) was submitted.

As explained in more detail in this blog post, I told Numenta that I couldn't sign the document
because:

[..] it appears to allow an interpretation that states that I’m potentially giving away
royalty-free licenses to all the software patent claims I ever make should I make a single
contribution to NuPIC, whatever it may be.

A complete explanation of how I reached that conclusion can be found in the email exchange,
available here: http://cl.ly/2z230N3R0u0T

Numenta discussed the matter with their legal team and decided to add a few words to eliminate
the dangerous interpretation. They announced this via a blog post:

http://numenta.org/blog/2013/09/03/numenta-contributor-license-v1-1.html

While they might have successfully avoided seriously damaging the rights of their contributors,
I'm afraid this possibility still exists for everyone else who uses the language that is presently
found in the Apache CLA, and therefore I'd like to bring it to the attention of this list.

Best regards,
Greg Slepak

— @taoffect on GitHub and elsewhere

--
Please do not email me anything that you are not comfortable also sharing with the NSA.


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