Michael R. Bernstein webmaven at
Wed Apr 13 22:11:47 UTC 2005

> From: Brian Behlendorf <brian at>
> Doesn't the FSF require copyright assignment for contributions to 
> GNU-owned works, giving them the scary possibility of relicensing under 
> other licenses? No one seems to mind that "asymmetry".
> Are we really all out of other windmills to tilt against?

To me, there is a qualitative difference between an Initial Developer (ID) requiring copyright assignment (for which, if the ID is a business, they might even be willing to pay for) in order to roll a modification into the main release of a project and a license that pre-determines that such an assignment to the ID has already been made if the modification has been distributed.

In the latter case, regardless of how many times a project forks (or how little ongoing contribution the ID makes), the ID always has a unique privelege regarding relicensing the codebase, putting them in a permanently advantaged economic position. The right to fork becomes an empty threat.

Speaking only for myself, this isn't the sort of deal I would find attractive unless the modifications I intend to make are mostly trivial.

- Michael Bernstein

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