[License-review] Submission of the Upstream Compatibility License v1.0 (UCL-1.0) for approval

Richard Fontana fontana at opensource.org
Wed Nov 30 01:34:59 UTC 2016

On Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 12:13:43PM +0200, Henrik Ingo wrote:
> The new contribution of this license seems to be that it tries to
> capture within a single document both the open source license and the
> upstream CLA (and I repeat, this is based on a superficial reading and
> more to make a general point).

I think that is right and this actually explains some of the concern I
have about this. The use of a CLA by a single-licensor copyleft
project is going to be obvious to potential contributors. The UCL
seems like it is taking the idea of a CLA but hiding it inside the
license. Even someone who has no intention of contributing to the
upstream project is doing the equivalent of signing a CLA merely by
modifying the software and distributing the modifications to

I agree somewhat with this argument you presented:

> - It could be argued that having a separate CLA, that contributors
> must acknowledge by the act of signing it, is actually a preferable
> process for asymmetric upstream contributions. It could very well be
> undesirable to endorse a practice where a random contributor has given
> away more rights than he himself gets by the mere act of sending a PR
> to a github repo. IMO the established practice that you, for example,
> agree to the GPL by way of contributing to a code base that is GPL, is
> well justified because what you agree to give away is the same that
> you received - and hypothetically understood to receive - by simply
> using/copying the software. Even if you might not actually understand
> the GPL, at least there's some fairness and balance that justifies
> this process. OTOH it might be undesirable to create a situation where
> developers contribute to some repository without understanding what
> they are giving away, or even without understanding that there's an
> asymmetric license in use. (For me personally this would be the
> strongest, or only, argument against approval.)

More information about the License-review mailing list