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Should Open Source Communities Avoid Contributor Agreements?

Aug 30, 2010, 21:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Simon Phipps)

"Contributor agreements that aggregate the copyrights of open source code in favour of a single corporate sponsor are a sure sign of a community where one member has more rights than the rest. And equality is the key to success.

"A collaborative activity dubbed Project Harmony is now under way between corporate and corporate-sponsored participants in the free and open source software communities (not to be confused with the Apache Java project of the same name). The project seeks to harmonise the various participant and contributor agreements - collectively termed "contributor agreements" by some - used by many open source projects.

"The goal of the project's initiators is to reduce the legal costs of analysing paperwork faced by companies contributing to open source projects. Initiated and sponsored by Canonical, meetings have already been held several times..."

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