Contributor agreement (was Re: what I did on my patch-pilot week)

John Szakmeister john at
Tue Dec 1 10:47:06 GMT 2009

On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:45 AM, Robert Collins
<robertc at> wrote:
> A few folk had no contributor agreement, and I couldn't initially add
> people myself, nor could Martin delegate that access; we tweaked the
> team arrangement as a result, and now there is a team of folk that can
> add new people to the contributor agreement team. That team will need to
> be Canonical staff only AFAIK. To avoid this becoming an issue I suggest
> that pilots who are not staff pick someone (e.g.  Martin) and mail them
> when they need to have someone sign the agreement. So first check the
> persons team memberships
> (, If they are not
> in, then you
> need to ask them to sign the agreement. In the merge proposal you would
> write:
> "You do not appear to have signed the Canonical contributor form
> ( Could you please follow the
> instructions there and copy both martin.pool at and myself
> when you send it in."
> Then, when the contributor mails you, you can ping Martin to get them
> added.

So, I've avoided signing this agreement, because it's unclear to me
what my rights are in this agreement.  It seems like I can do almost
anything with my contributions, but I'm not sure what the extent is.
For instance, can I take modified portions of my contribution and
chose not to distribute the source for them?  Can I re-license it, and
use something similar in a different project which may fall under a
different license?  1. seems to indicate that I no longer own the
copyright to code I contribute, but then goes on to say that "I grant
... perpetual license to use, ...".  That's just confusing to me.

I don't want to start a long thread about this... I'd rather someone
point me somewhere that more clearly informs me of what my rights are
upon signing the agreement.  Any chance there is such a page
somewhere?  Is there a better forum to get answers to these questions?


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