Ubuntu copyright assignment (was Re: Bradley Kuhn on switching back from Ubuntu to Debian)

Martin Owens doctormo at gmail.com
Tue Jan 19 07:41:53 GMT 2010

It's certainly an interesting topic, and worth discussing.

I've found that even when Canonical staff work on community projects
there is a degree of confusion about copyright assignment. Take for
instance the loco teams website.

My personal position is that over casual edits, I won't copyright assign
without being paid for the code. but that's due to being in a position
where if I'm not being paid to work on code through commissions then I
don't earn a living. I know a lot others are paid to work on the code or
are doing it for fun as a hobby so perhaps the issue isn't that
important for the majority of contributors.

I kind of wish the Ubuntu Foundation wasn't lame, some of those projects
in the list would be more helpfully copyright assigned to the foundation
rather than the Canonical business and while it may amount to the same
thing in the end it would put the code in a similar position to the FSF,
Mozilla and others who use the foundation side of their organisation
structures to handle copyright and trademarks. (correct me if I'm wrong)

Otherwise it's not effected my work too much, a couple of contributions
to launchpad I would have done, and that trouble with community team
projects, nothing much more.


On Mon, 2010-01-18 at 17:57 -0500, Elliot Murphy wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 9:29 AM, Matthew East <mdke at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> > I find it hard to see why contributions to the
> > individual Ubuntu projects listed on that page are any different to
> > contributions to other Ubuntu packages that aren't listed on the page.
> The difference is that they are projects that Canonical employees have
> written, Canonical has copyright on 100% of those programs and wants
> to maintain that. Canonical would not try to take over copyright for
> projects that already existed, and the current policy is that we ask
> for copyright assignment for contributions to projects that we already
> have 100% copyright on. I'm not arguing for or against copyright
> assignment (it's a complex topic), just trying to explain why some
> projects are listed here: http://www.canonical.com/contributors and
> many, many others are not.
> -- 
> Elliot Murphy | https://launchpad.net/~statik/

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