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List Archive: gentoo-trustees
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To: gentoo-trustees@g.o
From: Sven Vermeulen <swift@g.o>
Subject: Re: copyright stuff
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 22:17:59 +0200
On Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 12:37:26PM -0700, Deedra Waters wrote:
> I want to start this out as a small discussion to start with and take it
> to core once i get a general idea of how people feel.
> What i want to know from you all is do we really want to have/deal with
> the copyright stuff?
> My feeling is that while copyrights are/can be a good thing, i'm
> starting to think that with the major differences that's in our
> developer base, that we're not going to get a complete copyright doc
> that everyone can and will be able to handle. Some countries can't sign
> over copyrights, while we have devs that are under the legal age to sign
> documents.

True about the age, but not true about not being able to transfer
copyrights. We are talking about transferrable rights here, not moral

I still feel that a copyright assignment is the best option if we can not
have the copyright available for both parties (i.e. both the developer /and/
the foundation can take action against copyright violations). Having dual
copyrights is more troublesome than full copyright assignment, since full
copyright assignment is probably listed in all relevant laws (Copyright Act
in the USA, Auteursrecht in Belgium, etc.) while dual copyright is more
something exotic.

Another possibility is an exclusive license. With an exclusive license, the 
Foundation can protect the code (take appropriate measures, ...) while the 
original author still retains the copyright. The drawback is that the
original author can not use the code beyond what the Foundation and the
contract (= the license) sais ("exclusive" license).

But, back to the why's: I do feel that we need to have this protection.
With the copyright (or exclusive license) in the Foundation's hands,
Gentoo's code is completely contained within the project. We are then able
to protect ourselves in case of copyright violations.

Unless I am mistaken, copyright violations are the only reason why we would
want copyright assignment (it is not the Foundation's intention to change
license; as a matter of fact, we explicitly made clear that we will never
change license). Yet copyright violations are a big issue.

One frequent violation is removing the creditation given on the code (or
documentation). That may seem small, but for a free software/documentation
contribution, it is very important to the contributor. What good is the
code/documentation to the contributor if no-one knows he did it?

Other violations are for instance modifications without making the changes
open (case of GPL), using the code/documentation as part of a different,
non-free work, etc.

      Sven Vermeulen

  Documentation project leader - Gentoo Foundation Trustee

  The Gentoo Project   <<< >>>
pgp4sGCin83Bp.pgp (PGP signature)
Re: copyright stuff
-- Donnie Berkholz
Re: copyright stuff
-- Deedra Waters
copyright stuff
-- Deedra Waters
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