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If I release my software under certain Contributor Agreements, can I give the software the same effect as if I released it under an Open source license? My business partner and I are unsure which to use!

  • If yes, Great!

  • If no, why not? And what other options do I have?

  • What are these contributor agreements? – Zizouz212 Jun 26 '15 at 18:31
  • I am legally unable to share them with you at this time. – Trevor Clarke Jun 26 '15 at 18:32
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Contributor agreements aren't licenses for your software. They are instead like contracts between the main project managers and contributors. It's like the rules of being with us. So, they aren't software licenses. These agreements generally govern things such as:

  • Intellectual Property
  • Ownership
  • 'CA are licenses for your software.' -> was aren't meant? – Mnementh Jun 26 '15 at 18:39
  • AREN'TTTTTT omg – Zizouz212 Jun 26 '15 at 18:40
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Contributor agreements and licenses are both exactly what they say on the tin. Thus, you cannot license a project under a contributor agreement, and you cannot conduct relations with your contributors under a license.

A license defines the terms under which people are allowed to use your product. A contributor agreement defines the terms under which people are allowed to contribute to your product. Of course, as the owner you can accept or reject any changes you like, but the CA defines the accepted baseline by which all contributors are treated, so nobody complains of mistreatment.

  • 'so nobody complains of mistreatment.' unless they think the CA is a bad idea. – hildred Jul 1 '15 at 5:22

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