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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
Wouldn't it be just easier to get copy rights assignments, like per the FSF policy?
Posted May 23, 2004 16:40 UTC (Sun) by rfunk (subscriber, #4054)
Posted May 24, 2004 4:02 UTC (Mon) by leandro (guest, #1460)
> that would require a LOT more
paperwork than a maintainer adding a single line to the patch
description [...] Linus is trying to track the path a patch takes, not who owns it.
The copy rights assignment thing automatically takes care of the path -- the person assigning the copy rights implicitly states he owns the code, so any misappropriation responsibily is pushed over to the contributor. Who BTW also gets properly identified.
Posted May 24, 2004 4:35 UTC (Mon) by rfunk (subscriber, #4054)
Posted May 24, 2004 5:52 UTC (Mon) by JoeBuck (subscriber, #2330)
It's not really a lot more paperwork; under the GNU scheme, each contributor would do paperwork only one time, at least until changing jobs, and then a new employer disclaimer is needed. Getting that first paperwork done, and getting the employer to agree, can be a hassle.
What about the trivial submitters?
Posted May 24, 2004 12:00 UTC (Mon) by Duncan (guest, #6647)
Posted May 24, 2004 15:17 UTC (Mon) by bfields (subscriber, #19510)
What we are now suggesting is that said "trivial" submitters could no
longer submit anything, until they jumped thru a bunch of legal paperwork,
that isn't really worth it for that one character.
I don't think GNU has ever required that:
In fact, it looks to me (I'm not really familiar with the process, just doing a google search on "site:www.gnu.org copyright assignment") like they have two levels short of full copyright assignment: for trivial contributions nothing may be required, for smaller contributions a disclaimer that's short of a copyright assignment may be sufficient.
Posted May 24, 2004 15:41 UTC (Mon) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861)
> 4.2 Legally Significant Changes
> If a person contributes more than around 15 lines of code and/or text> that is legally significant for copyright purposes, which means we need> copyright papers for it as described above.>> A change of just a few lines (less than 15 or so) is not legally> significant for copyright. A regular series of repeated changes, such as> renaming a symbol, is not legally significant even if the symbol has to> be renamed in many places. Keep in mind, however, that a series of minor> changes by the same person can add up to a significant contribution. What> counts is the total contribution of the person; it is irrelevant which> parts of it were contributed when.
Also, on copyright assignment: it's true that copyright is assigned to the FSF, but the FSF grants back to the contributor full unrestricted rights to the code they contributed. So, they can take the code they submitted (but only that code of course) and continue to use it in their proprietary applications if they would like--they have a license to use it outside the GPL.
Linus on documenting patch provenance
Posted May 23, 2004 16:44 UTC (Sun) by corbet (editor, #1)
Whether you ask for assignment or not, you still want to be sure that the contributor has the right to contribute the code--and to be able to document that in the future. An assignment of copyright does not make that happen in some magic way.
Posted May 24, 2004 16:20 UTC (Mon) by JoeBuck (subscriber, #2330)
Jon, you need to take a more detailed look at the FSF's process before you comment further. Find out exactly what the FSF requires from both the contributor and the contributor's employer, and you'll see more clearly the steps they take to make sure that the bases are covered. A legally binding contract is signed by three parties: the FSF, the contributor, and the contributor's employer. The contract does more than just assign copyright. It also has some pretty strong patent language (though the FSF has negotiated weaker language with some contributors, notably IBM).
Linus could start with that procedure and adapt it to his desire that the contributor retain copyright. The contract would grant Linus (or some designated body) the right to distribute, and forbid the contributor from coming back later and impeding the distribution (by, say, asserting a patent claim).
Posted May 24, 2004 17:46 UTC (Mon) by josh_stern (guest, #4868)
Posted May 25, 2004 0:21 UTC (Tue) by mbp (subscriber, #2737)
Much as I love the FSF, I am not going to personally stand between them and a psychopath like SCO. Would they hold me to it? Probably not. But the risk is there.
Taking on a potentially unbounded legal liability is a heavy disincentive to signing the FSF assignment.
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