[Fedora-legal-list] contributor agreements and a wiki mistake

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Tue Sep 7 03:51:00 UTC 2010

On Mon, Sep 06, 2010 at 06:59:07PM -0700, Karsten Wade wrote:
> I was trying to point at the new project contributor agreement (FPCA),
> can mainly find Richard's article on the topic[0] and the draft[1].
> So I was going to ask what the status was, then I read this ...
> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Licenses#The_Contributor_License_Agreement
>   The purpose of the Contributor License Agreement (CLA) is to
>   establish copyright control under Red Hat, Inc. on behalf of the
>   Fedora Project. By having a single entity hold copyright: 
>                               ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> It goes on to summarize several points that sound inaccurate to me
> (I'm not sure our CLA allows us to relicense, I believe we
> sub-license, and it's a bit sketchy and not worth cheering about IMHO;
> second point seems sketchy, I don't see how the CLA stops someone from
> suing anyone, it just makes Red Hat a big target; third point seems
> accurate but a bit rough.)
> Regardless, the first paragraph is wildly inaccurate with both the CLA
> and the intention of the Fedora Project, not even to mention the
> intention of Red Hat.

I agree completely (except to say that the reference to "relicensing"
probably means 'changing the sublicensing terms used by Red Hat to
other sublicensing terms' and as such is kind of accurate - cf. Fedora
docs relicensing).

I pointed these problems out before - I wrote the unsigned comments on the talk page:

Regarding that third point, I'm not sure if that's simply restating
the first point or expressing something else. I guess it's true, but
the Fedora docs relicensing shows that in practice such power isn't
really exercised without making reasonable efforts to notify copyright
holders and provide opportunities to object or opt out.

Anyway the proposed FPCA would make it obsolete. :-)

While we're at it, let's please also delete the sentence:

  At this time, all license agreements shown are governed by the
  contractual laws of the State of North Carolina and the intellectual
  property laws of the United States of America, unless otherwise

- RF

More information about the legal mailing list