Ok, firstly, to clarify when I say minor, I mean someone under the age of majority in the US. In this case his father reached out to me regarding a sort of mentor/apprenticeship, so I know I have his approval (but do I need more? like something in writing?). Since It's open source, I don't need to pay him.

What sort of CYA's do I need to have in place?

  • 2
    As you are specifically asking about the legal aspects of contributions from minors, where the fact that the project is open-source is secondary, your question might be better suited for Law. Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


Treat them like you handle anyone else: with respect and with kindness.

Don't assume evil intentions when you can assume ignorance. Teach people how to behave and how you expect contributions instead of berating them. Lead by (good) example. Tell people that you will have an open ear and are willing to listen, if they have any issues concerning behaviour or proceedings in your community.

If you are willing to mentor her/him and give special introductions and advice: then by all means do so - if s/he wants it. Teach the ropes as far as they are willing to go, as far as desirable and necessary. Do that via the usual platforms you employ in your community. Give them things like 'good first issue' to work on to get a feel how it goes, to enable success stories for them and learn it by doing actual work.

  • 2
    if I could like this... but, I'm more concerned about the "legal" aspects, since legally he can't agree to license and contribution terms afaik? but I may be wrong. I intend to treat him generally as one should treat a part time employee (without a set schedule). So he also gets a taste of real working conditions to some extent. Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 16:10
  • 1
    Right... I cannot talk about US laws - which even might depend on state and county. Where I live, one has to have a certificate of a clean police record in order to be allowed to work with minors officially (or to be on the save side as the institution you work for). That includes free-of-charge work in your free-time, e.g. in sports club as trainer, in church etc. And you might want to get the legal guardians written consent, including consent that the work of the child can be used under the licenses you work with. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 13:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.