GnuTLS, copyright assignment, and GNU project governance
Posted Dec 31, 2012 9:25 UTC (Mon) by mkerrisk
In reply to: GnuTLS, copyright assignment, and GNU project governance
Parent article: GnuTLS, copyright assignment, and GNU project governance
great reporting, Michael. It's fair, balanced and well-researched writing like that that makes LWN so great.
I agree with the part about well-researched and good writing, and that it's a good opinion piece. But, I think it really is opinion, not journalism, particularly the Concluding Remarks section.
@Bradley: to be clear, I hope it is fairly evident from the writing which parts of my article are the results of research and which are my opinions. I certainly don't intend for the line between the two to be fuzzy, and any place where it is fuzzy is a "bug" in the writing, as far as I'm concerned. (I don't buy the notion sometimes expressed that there's journalism without opinion; there's just journalism that that makes its opinion more or less clear.)
And yes, there is an overarching opinion in the article: by now, I'm convinced copyright assignment (CA) is a poor idea in just about all cases; it just makes the power relationships too lopsided. (There is an irony here: once upon a time, I thought there were circumstances where CA could be a useful thing, and I started a pro-assignment meme in one organization where I worked; later, as I saw how the idea was playing out, I ended up devoting quite some energy trying to shoot down the meme.) When it comes to companies, the risks of CA are by now pretty evident. What became clearer to me as I wrote the article is that CA also has risks—different risks—when it comes to assigning to a nonprofit. The article was pretty much the final nail in the coffin holding my belief that CA can be useful in some circumstances.
And thanks for your earlier point "But, there is no question that the work is easier if the non-profit that seeks to enforce holds an overwhelming majority of the copyrights." It's an important data point that does need to weighed in the mix. Still, for me the balance now falls against CA.
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