Contributor License Agreements

Christopher D. Coppola chris.coppola at
Mon May 14 18:24:34 UTC 2007


I am part of several open source communities where we chose to use  
CLA's. I can affirm there is an administrative burden associated but  
I'll also say that we think it's worthwhile. Using CLA's has helped  
us establish a level of rigor around IP management in our communities  
that we've found to be very reassuring. Some side benefits we've  
found is         that the process of acquiring CLA's, and the  
education that goes into it has produced communities that have a keen  
appreciation for the intellectual property aspects of our efforts.

We chose a slight derivative of the Apache CLA.


On May 14, 2007, at 7:54 AM, Bruce Alspaugh wrote:

> My company is considering releasing a software library under an
> open-source license.  We are contemplating requiring contributors to
> return a signed Contributor License Agreement similar to the one  
> used by
> Sun[1], Apache[2], and many others.
> The advantages we see with CLAs are to preserve the option of
> re-releasing under a different license, and to strengthen our  
> ability to
> defend license violations if necessary.  The disadvantages we see are
> the added administrative burden of maintaining them, and reluctance on
> the part of contributors to sign them.
> When are CLAs advisable for open source projects? Are there other CLA
> templates we should consider?
> Sincerely,
> Bruce Alspaugh, CTO
> CompuLink, Ltd.
> 409 Vandiver Drive #4-200
> Columbia, MO 65202-2213
> [1]
> [2]

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