38 votes
Accepted

How to avoid being AWSed?

There are many reasons why people and companies are involved with open source. Often, these conflicts occur because a business running a project is using a license written by people with totally ...
  • 34.3k
17 votes

Contributing as a company

There are two issues here: Managing copyright and licensing of the company's contributions in a legally rigorous way, including corporate agreement to the project's CLA, if any. The use of a single ...
  • 31.6k
16 votes

What is the difference between a CLA and a CTA?

Harmony Agreements explain the differences quite well. Essentially, the difference is that with a CLA the contributor retains the copyright; with a CTA the organisation becomes the copyright holder. ...
  • 8,810
16 votes
Accepted

How to prevent contributors from claiming copyright on my LGPL-released software?

This is a legitimate issue that's come up various times in the past on various open source projects. The way it's typically handled is by not accepting external contributions into your repository ...
15 votes

What are the advantages of adding a Contributor License Agreement to a project?

What is it for? Many companies that open source their code want to keep control over the software. The CLA helps for that. Also it can be used for some legal issues. Usually it demands, that you ...
  • 10.9k
14 votes

How to prevent contributors from claiming copyright on my LGPL-released software?

We have run into this problem in libpng. We addressed it by putting any contributions that insist on keeping their own copyright, or are under a different open source license, into a "contrib" ...
13 votes

Common practice on GitHub and license/copyright

Licenses only matter if there is a conflict between programmers. If programmers don't get in any conflict or dispute, then you can be as informal as you want and everything will go fine. According to ...
13 votes
Accepted

Can I resubmit someone else's pull request if he does not sign CLA?

This depends in part on what the CLA requires, but it may be possible. Do you have the ability to reuse the submission at all? In general, it's understood that contributions to an open source ...
  • 31.6k
12 votes

When folks send me pull-requests on GitHub, what are their copyright/licensing terms by default?

Update, based on new Terms of Service: If a GitHub repository specifies a license, that's the default license for contributions. Here's Section D.6 from GitHub's current Terms of Service: 6. ...
  • 385
12 votes
Accepted

How to apply MIT license in the GitHub repo for fully free project?

That's not true that a public domain dedication won't protect you, for instance the Unlicense is a public domain dedication but still includes a limitation of warranty. In GitHub's choosealicense.com ...
  • 5,327
11 votes
Accepted

When folks send me pull-requests on GitHub, what are their copyright/licensing terms by default?

Some GPL projects require explicit copyright assignment, not merely licensing, of contributions. Copyright assignment is a bigger deal that licensing, and perhaps can't be arranged by an Apache style '...
  • 4,119
11 votes
Accepted

Projects which require copyright assignment from contributors?

Many projects do this, typically with the help of a CLA (Contributor License Agreement). Possible reasons for doing this (there might be more): The project owner can change the license without ...
  • 5,340
11 votes

Is it possible for Linux developers to retroactively "pull their code" from Linux?

No. Just no. Firstly, this has nothing to do with a CoC. If it was possible for developers to de-license code after release last month, then it's possible this month; if it wasn't possible last ...
  • 39.6k
10 votes

How does the optional Fiduciary Licence Agreement for KDE allow it to stay free/libre software?

The software would still be free even if every single contributor withheld their copyright. Copyright assignments and CLAs are mechanisms that make certain legal operations easier, like enforcement or ...
  • 31.6k
9 votes
Accepted

Do I lose any rights with Canonical's Harmony CLA?

This is indeed a better position to be in. Copyright assignment means you lose all your rights. You no longer own the work in the eyes of the law and have no legal force over it; Canonical instead ...
  • 8,810
9 votes

Must contributor agreements be physically signed?

There seem to be two separate questions here: must Copyright Assignment Agreements be physically signed and if not, will an implicit agreement suffice? Firstly, in jurisdictions with the legal ...
  • 39.6k
9 votes

What are the advantages of adding a Contributor License Agreement to a project?

A contributor license agreement can do several things: A CLA can require contributors to transfer copyright of all contributions to the legal entity (person or corporation) responsible for your ...
  • 31.6k
9 votes

Doesn't GPL with CLA defeat the point?

(a) if I am correct about GPL's original "motivation" No you are not correct about the motivation for creating the GPL. To quote Richard Stallman, the father of the GPL license: My work on ...
8 votes
Accepted

What happens when a corporate sponsor goes bust?

This situation is one major strong point in comparison to closed source software. While nobody can claim the copyright anymore and therefore the license must be kept unchanged, the software can still ...
  • 10.9k
8 votes
Accepted

Does a Contributor License Agreement prevent future employment with that company?

Of course not. A CLA says (paraphrased) "code I write belongs to you". Employment contracts say (either explicitly or implicitly) "code I write belongs to you". No problem there. (What might be a ...
8 votes
Accepted

Is it possible for Linux developers to retroactively "pull their code" from Linux?

Meanwhile the Software Freedom Conservancy published a statement which explains it quite well https://sfconservancy.org/news/2018/sep/26/GPLv2-irrevocability/ The answer is: no. As a summary: By ...
  • 540
7 votes
Accepted

How to complete CLA on GitHub

You need to ask the maintainers of the project you want to contribute to what exactly they expect from you. Different organizations have different standards regarding what they consider a legally ...
  • 11.4k
7 votes
Accepted

What additional benefits does the DCO provide?

"inbound=outbound" might not require any extra procedures. If a someone contributes to a project that is clearly under some license, you can assume in good faith that they have the right to publish ...
  • 34.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Entering into a Contributor License Agreement on behalf of a non-registered open-source organisation

When you write I own a GitHub organization in which I licensed the projects you are mistaken. In most legal systems there is more to creating a body with legal personhood, to which licences can ...
  • 39.6k
7 votes

Contributing as a company

The author of a work and the copyright holder of the work don't need to be the same entity. An example of this is music - a song is written by an artist, but the copyright on it may be held by a ...
  • 1,766
6 votes

When folks send me pull-requests on GitHub, what are their copyright/licensing terms by default?

In case of doubt, you should state clearly that you only accept contributions under GPLv3 (or whatever license you select), and that the constributor must make sure they are allowed to contribute ...
  • 5,009
6 votes
Accepted

How to accept contributions for AGPL / proprietary dual-licensed projects?

In other words: What should I point out in my CLA? Do I need any other contract with the contributor? What are the typical pitfalls to watch out for? In order to offer both licenses, you would need ...
6 votes

Are there reusable CLAs?

From Opensource FAQ:- For more about contributor agreements in general, and some examples, see civiccommons.org/Contributor_Agreements. See also the Project Harmony, "...a community-centered group ...
  • 1,992
6 votes

Is a CLA only useful for copyleft licensed?

This is best answered by people who distribute a software under MIT license and require their contributors to sign a CLA. For instance, Github Inc. distributes linguist under MIT but still requires ...
  • 5,327
6 votes
Accepted

Moving project from AGPL to Apache v2 / MIT license

You've clarified that you're worried about people incorporating the code of your compiler into closed-source web-accessible products before you're ready (hence AGPL for now) but that at some future ...
  • 39.6k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible