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Gmane
From: Andrea Pescetti <pescetti <at> openoffice.org>
Subject: Re: Copyright Assignments & the Document Foundation
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.documentfoundation.discuss
Date: Sunday 31st October 2010 22:56:04 UTC (over 6 years ago)
Charles-H. Schulz wrote:
> Andrea Pescetti a écrit :
>> Honestly, I believe new developers joined because the bar for 
>> contribution was lowered ... 
>> the paperwork reduction may have helped too, but I don't see
>> it as the most effective improvement.
> The paperwork was only a practical detail: not relinquising your
> copyright is the most important.

I haven't seen any new contributor write that they joined because of 
(the refusal of) a copyright agreement; while I have seen several new 
contributors write that they started contributing because the "Easy 
Hacks" were so easy that they didn't require any previous technical 
knowledge.

So, unless this theory can be supported by numbers, the mere refusal of 
copyright assignments/agreements does not seem to me the reason why new 
contributors were attracted.

> So we do take for granted that Oracle will not contribute to the
> Document Foundation, because that's what Oracle clearly implied in their
> last press release and what they told us (informally). This has to be
> very clear from now on. We are still open for future discussions, of
> course, but what you seem to imply is that conditions for a cooperation
> would require the document foundation to assign copyright (the
> contributions of the LibreOffice developers) back to Oracle again.

No, I never thought this, let alone write, let alone imply.

> if we find a way to cooperate, I can assure you that the
> condition will not be that we give our copyright to Oracle.

Of course. I'll retry.

If the Document Foundation wants to live in the real world, it will have 
to discuss with companies that work on OpenOffice.org and its 
derivatives (and this is peculiar to the OpenOffice.org codebase, so 
examples taken from elsewhere might not fit).

Now, without copyright assignment/agreement (granted by the LibreOffice 
developers to the Document Foundation), the Document Foundation will be 
in the awkward situation I described: it manages a product (LibreOffice) 
but cannot represent the LibreOffice developers since it doesn't own the 
code.

This makes it a weaker player: if the Document Foundation MANAGED, say, 
20% of the "OOo+LibreOffice" code, then its "weight" in talks with 
corporations can be proportional to it. But if it merely REPRESENTS 20% 
of the code but still any decisions must be ratified by the individual 
developers, its "weight" will be much lower.

Do you need an example? Think of a "happy ending" where, to the benefit 
of users, OOo and all derivatives merge in a common project. There are 
many stakeholders (Oracle, IBM, Novell, Red Hat, Redflag, the Document 
Foundation...) and they might agree on a new, free, license with some 
special provisions due to the long history of OOo. Now, without 
copyright assignments/agreements every stakeholder would be able to join 
the unified project except the Document Foundation. By choosing against 
copyright assignments/agreements you are killing this dream... And I 
can't see how the Document Foundation could realistically say it is open 
to discuss with companies in this setting.

Regards,
   Andrea Pescetti.
 
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