I've been the only author (or at least the author of 99.9% of code) on a project that initially started as a masters research project at a research organisation. After completing my studies I was offered a full time position at the research org and the repository found its way into a product developed there. I continued development on it while there to improve it but I was still the only person working on it.
After several years I moved to another research company, and kept working on the project on the side (as part of my PhD) before finding a use for it at the new place. I received a little bit of cash (put aside for staff "pet projects") to continue working on it during work hours and to develop use cases with colleagues. After a year or two I'm looking to move and the current company wants to tie up loose strings on the pet project. They're looking to clarify the licencing, authorship and ownership details of the project to avoid any issues down the road.
Since it started as a student project my initial licencing was a little bit scattershot. Some repo's have GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE on them, some have none, some have always been in my public git profile, some others are forked from the old companies git group. What the new company is suggesting is:
- Add an authorship/contributing file to each repo showing who has made commits (basically only me)
- Add MIT licences (or any licence really) to each repo.
- List New Org, Old Org and Myself as "IP owners" of the codebase and show the dates that each started/ended funding the project.
First prize would be to receive a letter from Old Org and New Org stating that they accept the open source licence for the work (There might be an issue with Old Org, they have a record of letting projects die rather than let go of control).
Is there a best practice on how to open source old work that has been developed at multiple locations, through multiple source of funding? Is there any way to prevent this biting me a year or so from now?
Answers to questions/assumptions from @martin-in-aut:
(i) - All code is currently published to a public git repo with licences attached. This was originally forked from Old Org private repo after I left.
(ii) - All code developed while at New Org is published with OSS licences the enthusiastic permission of New Org. Before leaving Old Org manager was notified that OSS licences had been attached but code was not made public. There is nothing in writing from Old Org and their policies regarding OSS is unclear.
(iii) - There is no attribution attached to any of the code, no patents or copywrite obtained. There have been a few journal papers published regarding the results where I'm the author but they don't make mention of the git repo.