Subject: Why use a CLA?
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:29:16 -0700
Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:29:16 -0700
John Cowan asked:

> I have a more general question, though.

> I've never seen the point of signed CLAs.  If a project doesn't want 

> to take copyright ownership (as the FSF does), then why isn't it 

> enough to ask contributors to license their contributions under some 

> open source license compatible with the project's (preferably the same
one)?

> 

> Indeed, ISTR you making this very point in the past.

 

 

Indeed, I did make that very point, and I'm still not comfortable with CLAs
that don't serve a distinct *contribution* purpose.

 

For many software specification projects, there is a long period during
which contributions from many people are reviewed and incorporated into a
specification document (or software!) followed by a shorter publication
cycle of the complete document (or software!). In the OWF model, during the
contribution review period the contributor's copyright and patent promises
are tied to the contribution itself. When a final specification is released,
however, the copyright and patent promises apply to the entire specification
regardless of who made which contribution. Thus there is a requirement for
two agreements in this context.

 

You will note that OWFa 1.0 and CLA 1.0 are almost identical. 

 

/Larry

 

bcc: Open Web Discussion list

 

 

> -----Original Message-----

> From: John Cowan [mailto:cowan@ccil.org] On Behalf Of John Cowan

> Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2011 10:04 AM

> To: Lawrence Rosen

> Cc: license-discuss@opensource.org

> Subject: Re: Announcing OWFa and CLA 1.0

> 

> Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

> 

> > I'm sending this to OSI license-discuss@ to see if there is any

> interest in

> > having OSI review these agreements for compatibility with the OSD.

> /Larry

> 

> I have no problem doing so.  I have a more general question, though.

> I've

> never seen the point of signed CLAs.  If a project doesn't want to 

> take copyright ownership (as the FSF does), then why isn't it enough 

> to ask contributors to license their contributions under some open 

> source license compatible with the project's (preferably the same 

> one)?

> 

> Indeed, ISTR you making this very point in the past.

> 

> --

> What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the       John Cowan

> sound of a [Ww]all that people have stopped     cowan@ccil.org

> banging their head against?  --Larry

> http://www.ccil.org/~cowan

 

 



John Cowan asked:

> I have a more general question, though.

> I've never seen the point of signed CLAs.  If a project doesn't want

> to take copyright ownership (as the FSF does), then why isn't it

> enough to ask contributors to license their contributions under some

> open source license compatible with the project's (preferably the same one)?

>

> Indeed, ISTR you making this very point in the past.

 

 

Indeed, I did make that very point, and I'm still not comfortable with CLAs that don't serve a distinct *contribution* purpose.

 

For many software specification projects, there is a long period during which contributions from many people are reviewed and incorporated into a specification document (or software!) followed by a shorter publication cycle of the complete document (or software!). In the OWF model, during the contribution review period the contributor's copyright and patent promises are tied to the contribution itself. When a final specification is released, however, the copyright and patent promises apply to the entire specification regardless of who made which contribution. Thus there is a requirement for two agreements in this context.

 

You will note that OWFa 1.0 and CLA 1.0 are almost identical.

 

/Larry

 

bcc: Open Web Discussion list

 

 

> -----Original Message-----

> From: John Cowan [mailto:cowan@ccil.org] On Behalf Of John Cowan

> Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2011 10:04 AM

> To: Lawrence Rosen

> Cc: license-discuss@opensource.org

> Subject: Re: Announcing OWFa and CLA 1.0

>

> Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

>

> > I'm sending this to OSI license-discuss@ to see if there is any

> interest in

> > having OSI review these agreements for compatibility with the OSD.

> /Larry

>

> I have no problem doing so.  I have a more general question, though.

> I've

> never seen the point of signed CLAs.  If a project doesn't want to

> take copyright ownership (as the FSF does), then why isn't it enough

> to ask contributors to license their contributions under some open

> source license compatible with the project's (preferably the same

> one)?

>

> Indeed, ISTR you making this very point in the past.

>

> --

> What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the       John Cowan

> sound of a [Ww]all that people have stopped     cowan@ccil.org

> banging their head against?  --Larry

> http://www.ccil.org/~cowan