Contributor License Agreements

DShofi at DShofi at
Mon May 14 19:00:42 UTC 2007

I could not agree with you more, Chris.  I would think that any open 
source project leader/maintainer would want to seriously consider adopting 
some sort of CLA or contributor assignment agreement to confirm that the 
project has the copyright rights necessary to distribute the open 
source/free software.  The moderate level of administration does seem to 
be worth the time and effort. 


"Christopher D. Coppola" <chris.coppola at> 
05/14/2007 02:24 PM

Bruce Alspaugh <compulinkltd at>
License Discuss <license-discuss at>
Re: Contributor License Agreements


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?


Bruce Alspaugh, CTO
CompuLink, Ltd.
409 Vandiver Drive #4-200
Columbia, MO 65202-2213



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