Subject: FSB external software submission policies?
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 11:09:05 -0700
Thu, 25 May 2000 11:09:05 -0700
This is an issue we've come up with again at OpenSales, in part because
we're getting submissions from our users <g>

The question is:  what policies are other FSBs using to deal with
software submissions from outside the company?  I've researched this
before and suspect that for the most part the issue is sidestepped.
I'll give you the option of a survey or essay response, and if you wish
to respond off-list, I'll keep your particular response private.

If you wish to distribute this survey among other interested parties, 
please feel free to do so.

I would like to summarize results to the list.


External software contribution submission copyright policy survey:

How does your company or organization manage intellectual property rights
software submissions from third party contributers?  Recognizing that it
may be helpful to secure copyright for purposes of registration with
government offices such as the US Library of Congress Copyright
Office, to have contributers clear submissions with their own employers
as works for hire, to have contributers certify that no work they don't
have rights to contribute are enclosed, and to have contributers grant
an FSB the right to license code under free software or other licensing 
terms, do you:

  A.  "Linux Kernel Policy" -- Play ostrich.  Bury your head in the sand
      and not have a specific policy?  Might also be called "tangled
      web" approach as copyright ownership could be interpreted as being
      jointly held by all developers.

  B.  Have a "Letters to the Editor" policy -- code submissions are
      considered to imply consent to publish and license under terms of
      the original work.  You must have a prominantly posted notice to
      this effect.

  C.  Require a copyright notice on all significant materials submitted
      -- say, anything more than a two line patch, but no specific
      contract, waiver, or other agreement.

  D.  "Postcard policy" -- require a hardcopy signed contract from
      developers stating terms under which submissions are accepted,
      rights granted by developer, certifications of authority to grant
      rights, and employer affidavit for works-for-hire if appropriate.
      Essentially a postcard which the developer can return to your
      legal department.

  E.  "FSF/GNU copyright assignment policy" -- require assignment of
      copyright by developer to you or another organization such as the
      Free Software Foundation.

  D.  Other.  Please describe.

If you have specific policy materials, contracts, or descriptions of
procedures you would like to attach, please do so.

This survey was originally distributed to the Free Software Business
mailing list, (info:, as well
as selected other contacts.

I'm conducting this survey on my own, though I'm also employed as
Evangelist for OpenSales (

I would like to compile initial results by June 1, 2000, but would be
interested in ongoing responses.

Return to:

Karsten M. Self <>
1053 Laurel St.
Menlo Park, CA 94025


Karsten M. Self <>
  Evangelist, Opensales, Inc.             
   What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?      Debian GNU/Linux rocks!      K5:
GPG fingerprint: F932 8B25 5FDD 2528 D595  DC61 3847 889F 55F2 B9B0

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