Subject: RE: Contributor Agreements (Was: Licensing question)
From: "Hurst, Annette L." <>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2005 10:57:39 -0800

 Thu, 10 Nov 2005 10:57:39 -0800
I am an IP litigation attorney and a new participant on this list, but I have long had
an interest in open source issues.  The issue of enforcement of open source licenses
is a legal issue of considerable interest and ongoing debate in the business and legal
community.  Contributor agreements assigning ownership are central to efforts to enforce
any open source license.  Yet the notion of assigning the ownership of open source code
can be very controversial among the copyleft and free software communities.  A good
example of a contributor agreement that is insufficient to protect enforcement rights
is the one in use at Wikipedia.  The importance of assignments cannot be understated,
particularly given the recent Ninth Circuit en banc decision in the Silvers v. Sony
case which said that the right to enforce the copyright cannot be assigned independently
of an ownership interest.  I think if OSI took a position endorsing assignment of rights
in contributor agreements for the purpose of facilitating enforcement efforts, it would
substantially improve the enforceability of all OSI certified licenses.  This is certainly
also consistent with FSF's position.

-----Original Message-----
From: David Ryan []
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 9:19 PM
Subject: Contributor Agreements (Was: Licensing question)

The discussion of contributor agreements made me wonder about standard 
practices for these documents.  I've grabbed a few links to see how 
others have drafted theirs.

Would there be in any value in having the OSI maintain and approve 
standard templates for these?  It is obvious that these documents are 
becoming an important aspect of the open source life cycle of projects.


David Ryan. aka Oobles.


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