Legal Release of Closed Source under Open Source License

Andrew Cutler andrew at
Tue Aug 10 00:46:28 UTC 2010

On 10 August 2010 08:37, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> What matters is whether the copyright is being transferred to you.  If
> so, tells you how to
> register that with the Copyright Office; doing so is not required, but
> helps protect both parties.  No special form is required; a letter
> should be fine.  If not, the copyright remains with the client, and
> you just have to attach a copyright notice ("Copyright 2010 by J.R.R.
> Client") and the agreed-upon license.
> You are being too cagey about the details for us to help you very much.

I'm not intentionally trying to be cagey. It's pretty simple really.
The code was written for the client under a labour hire arrangement.
Therefore as I understand it they own the Copyright and all rights in
the code. They've now agreed to allow me to release the code under an
open source license. Which I would think I should be able to do
without an assignment of Copyright provided I cover my backside with
the necessary documentation.  But you're probably right, if I can get
full assignment of the Copyright then that is probably safest.

I'm surprised that there isn't more information online regarding this,
as I'm sure it must be a common enough issue. And certainly one that
is in the interest's of the OSS community.

Andrew Cutler

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