[openstack-dev] [all] Proposal: copyright-holders file in each project, or copyright holding forced to the OpenStack Foundation

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Sun Jan 17 15:15:38 UTC 2016

On 2016-01-17 14:36:23 +0800 (+0800), Thomas Goirand wrote:
> What I wrote is that I feel like the currently situation makes it
> very blurry for one to tell who is the copyright holder(s). I'm
> seeking a way to fix this.

I fail to see what's blurry about it. The contributors who feel
compelled to acknowledge their copyright or that of their employer
do so by adding or updating a comment at the top of the file to
which they're contributing. This is typical of many (I hesitate to
say "most" though I suspect it may be) projects, and is a
long-standing part of our culture in the greater free software

I am definitely (and happily) not a lawyer, but the instructions at
http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html#apply indicate that
at least one copyright notice is expected when applying the Apache
License, Version 2.0. There is also nothing out of the ordinary with
files having multiple copyright holders declared (because they made
significant copyrightable contributions to the same file at
different points in time), nor with different files in a project
having different copyright holders. Further, section 4c of the
license indicates that copyright and attribution notices must be
redistributed even in derivative works, and it seems pretty obvious
that any patch updating a file results in a derivative work of the
prior version of that same file, so retaining our existing copyright
notices is necessary (in my non-lawyer opinion).

> It looks like its another failed attempt, as some (including you)
> are opposed to do any of the things I proposed, and nobody has a
> better solution (and I don't see how writing to the legal list
> will change anything). I suppose I can only give-up.

I am (and probably others are as well) unlikely to be convinced
without prominent lawyers who possess expertise in free software and
copyright law weighing in on efficacy and viability of your proposed
changes. Also suggestions which have any bearing on the
responsibilities of the OpenStack Foundation (such as switching to a
copyright assignment model) would need input from their legal
counsel, and possibly even a majority vote of the foundation
membership to actually enact.
Jeremy Stanley

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