Transfer of Copyright

David Johnson david at
Fri Feb 23 05:55:57 UTC 2001

On Thursday 22 February 2001 09:58 am, Lawrence E. Rosen wrote:
> There was an earlier posting asking about how copyrights are transferred.
> The issue of copyright transfer is a very important one for open source
> projects, but one that is often ignored.  One important consideration is
> that only the legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a
> copyright is entitled to institute an action for any infringement of that
> right. 

Great information. I thank you.

My primary interest in getting the copyright assigned to me is so that I 
would be in control if there should ever be a need to change the 
application's licensing. Although I do not plan on this, it has happened 
before. Everything else I need would already be conveyed to my by the 
contributor's license.

Pending further discussions with my contributor, I will probably NOT have him 
transfer the copyright to me. First, I am using the BSD license and not the 
GPL or another copyleft license. Changing the license for my portion of the 
work would not create any legal problems with contributions that might have 
to remain under the BSD license, so long as I keep them distinct. Second, 
neither the contribution nor my code are dependant upon the other. Thus, 
there would be no joint authorship in the application.

A major patch contribution might be another matter, but in the present 
situation there is no need for a copyright assignment. Unless, of course, I 
forgot about something.

David Johnson

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