[legal-discuss] Contribution Snag

Radcliffe, Mark Mark.Radcliffe at dlapiper.com
Wed Feb 19 16:41:08 UTC 2014


To provide you with more context. The Legal Affairs Committee devoted an entire meeting to the issue of your contribution because it raises fundamental issues about the OpenStack policy on CLAs, including  (1)  fairness to members who have contributed under the existing CLAs (2) effect on future contributors who request "special treatment" and  (3) administrative burden of managing multiple CLAs.  As a matter of context, I am on the Legal Committee for the Apache Software Foundation and they only have the individual and corporate CLA: they do not have a government CLA and many significant government agencies, such as the NSA and JPL have executed the Corporate  CLA.

As an example of the problem which could arise if we granted an exception, we had a request the week prior to the Legal Affairs Committee meeting from a major multinational corporation for a special exemption from the CLA because of their unusual corporate structure. We rejected the request and noted that IBM and many other major corporations had executed the existing CLA: this response was very persuasive to them.  If we provide an exception for PNNL, we will not be able to make that statement.   After the discussion, the Legal Affairs Committee decided unanimously to recommend against adopting a new form of CLA and to ask PNNL to reconsider its position.  I have spoken with the attorney for PNNL and he recognizes that this is part of a larger problem for PNNL as it gets more involved in open source projects (for example, the Apache Software Foundation would not even discuss any changes to the CLA). He is currently working  on the issue. We hope that we can find a way for you to contribute to OpenStack and I will continue to work with him on the issue.
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