Danese Cooper danese at
Wed Apr 13 23:11:09 UTC 2005

The explicit concern that was raised by Groklaw during drafting of
CDDL (which copied the MPL in this regard) was that somehow Sun was
going to allow one of our partners to insert IP into original code we
might release under CDDL and the community would not be aware...that
essentially an IP "trap" might be laid.  Paranoid...absolutely!  But
I've heard similar conspiracy theories over the years implicating many
a large IP holder.  The criticism was that the community was expected
to believe it was safe to play (implicit warranty as you suggest)
without any real representation of safety from the original
contributor.  And anyway its another example of how simply setting up
symmetrical terms would balm community fears (unfounded or no).


On 4/13/05, Brian Behlendorf <brian at> wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Apr 2005, Danese Cooper wrote:
> > On the subject of asymmetry...There is an assymetry in the warranty of
> > provenance of many existing F/OSS licenses.  Original contributor is
> > typically not required to make any sort of representation about their
> > ownership of contributions nor about IP embedded in their
> > contributions, while subsequent contributors often *are* required to
> > make such representations.
> I don't follow this.  Any "original contributor" most definitely makes a
> representation of the ownership of the IP by placing a copyright notice on
> the work.  If anything, many OSS projects are weak in doing the latter -
> getting assignments or license agreements from contributors.  Many OSS
> projects just assume that if you post that patch to the developer list you
> wanted it in the project.  But how many OSS projects are initially
> released without a copyright notice?
> > In a project such as Apache where everyone starts on an even footing and
> > the seed code is derived from a 3rd source, this is a shared risk
> Huh?
> > but in a typical "corporate" project the asymmetry is concerning,
> > especially in cases where code might be encumbered (intentionally or
> > unintentionally) by large IP holders who might in future find offensive
> > enforcement actions to be an attractive strategy.
> Wait - is the "large IP holder" the "corporate" who is releasing/managing
> the project (in which case, their license on the code isn't something that
> can be revoked later, at least I've never heard of a "we were just
> kidding" kind of attack) or are you referring to a different entity which
> might own patents that apply (nothing to be done about that case) or owns
> some of the code released by the "corporate" and never sanctioned its
> release (in which case the only guilty party is the "corporate" for
> improperly handling the IP of others)?
> And what does this have to do with the concerns expressed here about
> licenses that establish an asymmetry in favor of the copyright holder?
> (put more broadly than Michael Bernstein defined it)
>         Brian

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