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Open Source Contributor Agreements: Purpose and Scope

Aug 06, 2010, 17:24 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Martin Michlmayr)

[ Thanks to Martin Michlmayr for this link. ]

"When a contribution is made to an open source project, there is an implicit assumption (and sometimes explicit consent) that the contribution (code, translation, artwork, etc) may be incorporated into the project and distributed under the license the project is using. However, many conditions of the contribution are not explicitly called out. The purpose of Contributor Agreements is to make the terms under which contributions are made explicit, thereby protecting the project, the users of the software and often also the contributors.

"Apache Software Foundation (ASF) describes the aim of their CLA in this way: 'The purpose of this agreement is to clearly define the terms under which intellectual property has been contributed to the ASF and thereby allow us to defend the project should there be a legal dispute regarding the software at some future time.' Contributor Agreements also ensure that contributions cannot be withdrawn by the contributor, as the FAQ for the Django CLA explains: 'The CLA also ensures that once you have provided a contribution, you cannot try to withdraw permission for its use at a later date. People and companies can therefore use Django, confident that they will not be asked to stop using pieces of the code at a later date.'"

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