[legal-discuss] Copyright statements in source

Mark McLoughlin markmc at redhat.com
Thu Jan 23 10:55:42 UTC 2014

On Wed, 2014-01-22 at 12:25 -0500, Richard Fontana wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 11:27:28AM +0000, Mark McLoughlin wrote:
> > I think it's time we stepped back and considered all the angles here -
> > not just "drop the CLA", "delete the copyright notices". What do we (the
> > project) want? What are our values?
> > 
> > I'd suggest:
> > 
> >   - We want to be able to distribute OpenStack under the Apache License 
> >     v2, so:
> >      - All code to the project must be contributed under the ALv2
> >      - We can incorporate BSD/MIT licensed code from other projects
> >      - We can use LGPL, BSD, MIT, etc. licensed libraries; currently,
> >        we're being conservative and not using GPL/AGPL libraries
> > 
> >   - There is no need for contributors to grant the foundation a special 
> >     license.
> > 
> >   - We copy the kernel's Signed-off-by/DCO method of having all 
> >     developers who contribute to a patch state they have the right to 
> >     contribute the patch under ALv2
> > 
> >   - We consolidate all copyright notices into a single "copyright 
> >     multiple authors" notice above the ALv2 header, making it clear the 
> >     code is directly licensed by the authors under ALv2 without the 
> >     foundation acting as an intermediary
> > 
> > This is just a strawman idea to draw some comments. What am I missing?
> The one thing is my intuition that the lawyers for several of the
> corporate members of the OpenStack Foundation, and lawyers for the
> Foundation itself, would object to adoption of the Linux kernel-style
> DCO. (Though perhaps mainly due to lack of familiarity with the
> approach and some belief that the CLA system currently in use is a
> best practice of some sort.) I myself think an unadulterated DCO
> method is a fine idea, have said so before and feel confident in
> saying that that would be Red Hat's official view.

I think it's worth having a properly informed discussion involving the
Foundation Board and Legal Affairs Committee.

To do so, we'd need to pull together some points into a document:

  - why the CLA process is causing friction

  - a review of practices adopted by some other large, well known and 
    comparable projects

  - how OpenStack's process differs from other projects using CLAs, 
    like the ASF

  - enumerating the perceived benefits and explaining why they are a 
    misconception, not a major benefit or that a similar effect can be 
    achieved differently

  - a concrete proposal for a change to DCO, including infra changes, 
    education, bylaws amendment, etc.

  - a FAQ section which anticipates additional concerns people may have

I'd take this to the TC first to double-check that there's consensus
amongst the contributor community to make a move like this.

Unfortunately, there's no quick way to make this happen, but I think if
we can get the process moving we should be able to make it happen.


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