Starting a new Open Source Project
jcowan at reutershealth.com
Mon Nov 4 23:21:18 UTC 2002
David Johnson scripsit:
> 1) Each author retains copyright for their non-trivial contribution. Since we
> will probably use the BSD license, this does not create a huge problem. But
> would the package as-a-whole need a distinct copyright holder? Would a
> generic "Ogham Development Team" suffice, or is something much more formal
If the package-as-a-whole is made up of separately copyrighted modules,
then it could only get a thin "compilation copyright" controlling selection
(and ordering, irrelevant for software). So with this copyright you could
prevent people from putting *exactly the same* set of modules together.
This is kinda pointless. Don't worry about it.
> 2) Once person is copyright holder, and everyone else needs to assign
> contributions to him or her. This is what GNU does. One problem with this is
> deciding who gets to be the copyright holder. Another problem is the
> administrative hassle of assigning the copyrights over. We want to make
> contributing as painless as possible.
Any document in writing saying "I assign all my copyright interest in <project>
to <recipient>" is probably sufficient, assuming you are not going to sue
one another. IANAL, TINLA.
> 3) Create an umbrella group to hold the copyright. Does this need to be a
> formal foundation or non-profit? Do contributions still need their copyrights
> assigned over, or could the group act as the "compiler" of the compilation?
I think it pretty much needs to be a corporation (legal person). Probably
not worth doing for just one small project. When you have lots of projects
like FSF or Apache, then it's worthwhile.
> I've done a quick survey of some OSS projects, and their all either seem to
> the second since they were initially started by a single individual, or the
> third since they grew considerably in size.
Linux is the best-known example of the first case: the parts are under varying
copyright ownership and with varying (though all GPL-compatible) licenses.
What is the sound of Perl? Is it not the John Cowan
sound of a [Ww]all that people have stopped jcowan at reutershealth.com
banging their head against? --Larry http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
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