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List Archive: gentoo-nfp
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To: gentoo-nfp@g.o
From: Andrew John Hughes <gnu_andrew@...>
Subject: Copyright assignment and copyright notice in ebuild headers
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 20:01:28 +0000
On Wed, 2009-02-18 at 13:10 +0200, Petteri R├Ąty wrote:
> I have a mostly user written ebuild in which he has put his copyright to
> the header instead of the standard one so repoman is not happy about it.
> What is the model we should follow these days? Since developers haven't
> been doing copyright assignment for a while there's so much of the tree
> that isn't actually under Gentoo Foundation copyright as far as I
> understand it so should we just allow adding individual developers to
> the headers along the Foundation? I will be adding a question about this
> to the quizzes when we get some decision done so that new developers get
> educated on this (probably also need to have this documented somewhere
> on your web pages).

> This topic came up years ago. End solution was that ebuilds that go into
> the tree need to be assigned to the foundation. Reason for this is that
> if we ever have to go to court to protect any IP the author wont have to
> go to the courts with us to co-defend that IP.

As the user concerned, I understand the logic of assigning copyright
(note that's copyright, not IP...).
Both the FSF and Sun have assignments for the GNU Classpath and
OpenJDK projects respectively, which I've already signed to.

What strikes me as strange in the Gentoo case is that both the FSF and
Sun cases involve a formal signed contract, which also
provides a grantback of rights or dual assignment to the original
copyright holder.  You can see the Sun terms in the SCA here:
Gentoo however seem to want me to just hand over copyright by simply
changing a file header.  This strikes me as both wrong
and even perhaps legally insecure (IANAL).

I'd be more than happy to have the ebuild included with my existing
copyright, and I don't see how that is any more defensible
than a Gentoo Foundation copyright which is not founded on a proper
assignment of rights.
Andrew :-)

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Red Hat, Inc. (

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