License agreement (I assert it's legal) vs. Assignment
Posted Apr 8, 2011 21:43 UTC (Fri) by david.a.wheeler
In reply to: Project Harmony opens website (The H)
Parent article: Project Harmony opens website (The H)
I agree that assigning copyright to a non-profit is different than assigning copyright to a for-profit, but there's another issue as well.
There are fundamentally two different kinds of agreements that Project Harmony is working out: a "contributor license agreement" and a "contributor assignment agreement". The "license agreement" looks quite innocuous; it lets you assert that you have the legal right to release this back. Several projects do this sort of thing, because it gives them a somewhat better protection against those who claim something was illegally contributed. The "assignment" is the big issue; that actually hands over rights, so that the recipient will have more rights than the contributor (e.g., to relicense).
I can see the point of these, but I know that I (and many others) will continue to be leary of assignments. I will sign assignments occasionally, especially for non-profits; for example, I've signed an assignment with the Free Software Foundation. But requiring any of these agreements creates red tape that slows down development; assignments cause even more problems, and assignments to for-profit organizations is a BIG flag.
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