Subject: Re: Who holds the copyright?
From: (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 11:46:11 -0500 (EST)

Jonathan Shapiro writes:
> There is a case in which Cygnus *cannot*, as a matter of contract, do this.
> If they do a CPU port as a work for hire, the intellectual property is not
> theirs to disclose.

A "work for hire" is a work done by an employee as part of their
employment duties.  Cygnus's employees' works, at least the ones they
do as part of their Cygnus jobs, are works for hire, and thus the
copyright belongs not to them, but to Cygnus.  (Cygnus assigns most of
these copyrights to the FSF.)

If an employee of Motorola ports gcc to some Motorola chip, that is a
work for hire.  If Motorola contracts with Cygnus instead, Cygnus's
work is not a work for hire for Motorola.  Cygnus is entirely free to
assign copyright to Motorola as a term of the contract, of course, but
that is different from creating a work for hire.

IIRC, though, Cygnus has signed a blanket copyright assignment such
that all of their gcc work belongs to the FSF, which would not leave
them free to sign such a contract.  Perhaps those who know more about
the situation could comment.

The HaL case was restricted by a non-disclosure agreement, not a
copyright assignment.

Not that it matters.  If someone wants gcc ported to their chip, it's
presumably because they want to distribute the gcc port, and they can't
do that except under GPL anyway.

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
The Internet stock bubble didn't burst on 1999-11-08.  Hurrah!