contribution agreements for open source projects

Mitchell Baker mitchell at
Wed Sep 23 17:42:48 UTC 2009

On 9/23/09 10:23 PM, Alex Russell wrote:
> On Sep 23, 2009, at 10:13 AM, Mitchell Baker wrote:
>> On 9/23/09 9:04 PM, Alex Russell wrote:
>>> On Sep 23, 2009, at 9:00 PM, John Cowan wrote:
>>>> Jeffrey O'Neill scripsit:
>>>>> Can anyone recommend a website that compares the contribution
>>>>> agreements used by different projects?  I'd like to use one for my
>>>>> project, but I'd like to consider the options so I can make an
>>>>> informed choice.
>>>> Unfortunately, few projects post them.
>>> ??
>>> Nearly every Foundation that requires them that I've seen posts 
>>> them. Apache, Eclipse, etc., etc.
>> Last I looked closely at Apache, it did NOT require assignment of 
>> copyright.  It was a bit confusing because even some Apache folks 
>> would describe things this way, but they actually got a license.  Has 
>> this changed?
> Apache uses a system where you assign a perpetual, sub-licensable 
> license to the Foundation for all the rights that matter (copyright, 
> patent, etc.). Copyright (and all other rights) rest with the original 
> author, but the Foundation gets the ability to license it how they see 
> fit.
> Yes, that's as i remember it.  Not an assignment of ownership.  The 
> original owner remains the owner. It's a strong license though, 
> especially in the Apache Foundation's ability for the foundation to 
> relicense the code, which makes it a much further reaching license 
> than many.


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