Nees help selecting a license

jacobus.vosloo at jacobus.vosloo at
Thu Apr 10 09:00:39 UTC 2003

Miko said:
> The original question was if in order to "clear" copyright developers 
> should either (1) rewrite the code submissions or (2) get (written) 
> copyright assignments.

Option three (3) is to make an amendment to the license.
I know it's been through many discussions on this newsgroup. The reason I want 
to raise it again is because of its importance to the business community.
Almost every business that considers releasing source code will eventually come 
to the question: 
"How do we LEGALLY keep two parallel projects running, while one is open 

Possible solutions for (3):
a) In your license, require of the contributor to grant you the license to use 
the changes in your parallel proprietary project.
    This is what business would like, the justification is: "We released the 
source code in good faith, the contributors can give us their ideas, in good 
b) Give everyone the right to sell the software, like the Lucent Public License 

1) Even if you do rewrite the code submission, and the idea is the same, with 
very small differences, 
    some countries would still take it as a copy of at least the idea.
2) As was pointed out earlier, copyright assignment can only work if the 
assigner verifiably owns the copyright,
    and both you and the assigner reside in a country that accepts copyright 
    In my opinion this method, could cause many companies to unknowingly make 
themselves liable for litigation.
3) These two extremes, each has it's own problems, as stated below.
    a. It can be used to misuse the contributors. Viral?
    b. This will not create a big following by businesses that need to survive 
from their software sales.  
        Even though selling support can work, as Redhat is proving, it is still 
a very niche marketing methodology.

Option 3 is the only legally sound solution I know of, but a middle ground must 
be found that can be supported by both the community and Business.
I am quite sure we as a community will eventually find a solution. The 
timeframe simply depends on our flexibility.  

Thanks to the OSI for working to achieve this?

Note: I am not a lawyer. I am a business developer, I need a solution to this 

Good wishes to all

Jacobus Vosloo
Application Integrator for .Net
Invision DaimlerChrysler - East London
Email: jacobus.vosloo at
Tel: +27 43 706 2477 
Fax: +27 43 706 2612

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