Code contributions

Caskey L. Dickson caskey at
Tue Nov 10 20:54:23 CET 1998

On Tue, 10 Nov 1998, brian moore wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 10, 1998 at 10:35:53PM -0500, Kirk Fort wrote:
> > I find it a bit disheartening that hackers have to go through so many
> > legal loopholes to contribute to open source software.  I was not aware so
> > much was involved.  It seems to be turning away people from contributing.
> > This undermines the basis on which the free software community was
> > founded.  
> I think the biggest problem is for those of us in the US, though.
> Signing such a thing could be incriminatory.

IANAL: The FSF takes their role of defending free software very seriously.
Unfortunately, in order to have their right to sue someone who tries to
distrubute GnuWare w/o source recognized by the (US) courts they must be
the legal copyright holder.  The (US) legal system will not recognize an
assignment of copyright that isn't backed up by a contract.  Therfore w/o
the paper, any lawsuit brought by the FSF would be immediately thrown out. 

Warner has chosen to let the FSF use it's (much larger) resources to
protect the GnuPG source.  This means he must not 'poison' the source code
by including work done by other people.  The FSF's concern in this case
is that someone who contributes a large amount of code could actually sue
the FSF for distributing 'their' code.  The implicit transfer of copyright
isn't strong enough by just sending a copy of the code.

It's important to note that the FSF's description is filled veiled with
anti-copyright law jabs. 


    Heuer's Law: Any feature is a bug unless it can be turned off.
Caskey <caskey*>       ///                pager.818.698.2306
TechnoCage Inc.                     ///|               gpg: aiiieeeeeee!!!
    Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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