Patchwork Clarify Go copyright license agreement

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Submitter Ian Taylor
Date Dec. 3, 2010, 7:04 p.m.
Message ID <mcry6861xw5.fsf@google.com>
Download mbox | patch
Permalink /patch/74206/
State New
Headers show

Comments

Ian Taylor - Dec. 3, 2010, 7:04 p.m.
Making changes to the Go frontend does not actually require a copyright
assignment to Google.  I misstated this in the README change I committed
yesterday.  It currently requires a copyright license agreement.  I
committed this patch to correct and clarify my wording.

I agree that this situation is less than ideal.  This is the compromise
which the gcc steering committee came up with.  Perhaps we can come up
with something better.  I hope so.

Ian
Mike Stump - Dec. 3, 2010, 7:35 p.m.
On Dec 3, 2010, at 11:04 AM, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> Making changes to the Go frontend does not actually require a copyright
> assignment to Google.  I misstated this in the README change I committed
> yesterday.  It currently requires a copyright license agreement.  I
> committed this patch to correct and clarify my wording.
> 
> I agree that this situation is less than ideal.  This is the compromise
> which the gcc steering committee came up with.  Perhaps we can come up
> with something better.  I hope so.

Well, technically, I'd prefer the FSF allow us to contribute to the GO software by having it grant the rights in our contributions.  This way, all people that contribute to gcc today, get a free pass from having to do any paper work at all.  Technically, you could just bidirectionally merge bits out of the FSF tree into the other tree as well.  Now, I realize that would be _hard_ as an FSF lawyer would have to read and agree to contribute to the GO software, but for developers, it would be the most natural.

Sorry for mentioning it in advance.
Alexandre Oliva - Dec. 3, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
On Dec  3, 2010, Ian Lance Taylor <iant@google.com> wrote:

> It currently requires a copyright license agreement.

IIRC the agreement is a patent license as well, so describing it as a
copyright license agreement isn't accurate either.  I think just
“license agreement” would be fine.

> I committed this patch to correct and clarify my wording.

Thanks for the improvement so far.
Alexandre Oliva - Dec. 3, 2010, 8:41 p.m.
On Dec  3, 2010, Mike Stump <mikestump@comcast.net> wrote:

> Well, technically, I'd prefer the FSF allow us to contribute to the GO
> software by having it grant the rights in our contributions.  This
> way, all people that contribute to gcc today, get a free pass from
> having to do any paper work at all.  Technically, you could just
> bidirectionally merge bits out of the FSF tree into the other tree as
> well.  Now, I realize that would be _hard_ as an FSF lawyer would have
> to read and agree to contribute to the GO software, but for
> developers, it would be the most natural.

I'm not even sure the FSF *could* do that, given my recollection of the
wording in the copyright assignments it has received.  IIRC, in return
for the assignment, the FSF promises to ensure that any distribution of
the work or of works based on it, under the FSF control, ought to be in
ways that respect users' freedom over the code.  So, offering the code
to Google in a way that permitted distribution under non-Free terms,
like Google's license agreement permits, might amount to breaking the
promise.  I don't have easy access to the exact wording of FSF's
copyright assignments to check ATM, and even if I did, IANAL, but it's
one concern to keep in mind.

Now, if Google were to make a commitment compatible with the obligations
the FSF is under per the copyright assignments it has received, we might
get the no-additional-paperwork arrangement that at least you, Basille
and I would prefer.
Andreas Schwab - Dec. 3, 2010, 9:07 p.m.
Ian Lance Taylor <iant@google.com> writes:

> diff -r 0f6903c0e43d go/README
> --- a/go/README	Thu Dec 02 15:21:35 2010 -0800
> +++ b/go/README	Fri Dec 03 11:00:18 2010 -0800
> @@ -38,13 +38,11 @@
>  To contribute patches to the files in this directory, please see
>  http://golang.org/doc/gccgo_contribute.html .
>  
> -Changes to these files require a copyright assignment to Google.  This
> -is required to permit the changes to be copied to the gcc repository,
> -as Google has a copyright assignment with the Free Software
> -Foundation.
> -
> -If you are the copyright holder, you will need to agree to the
> -individual contributor license agreement at
> +These master copy of these files is hosted at
> +http://code.google.com/p/gofrontend .  Changes to these files require
> +signing a Google copyright license agreement.  If you are the
> +copyright holder, you will need to agree to the individual contributor
> +license agreement at
>  http://code.google.com/legal/individual-cla-v1.0.html.  This agreement
>  can be completed online.

I'd suggest to put URLs inside <> throughout.

Andreas.
Florian Weimer - Dec. 4, 2010, 2:58 p.m.
* Alexandre Oliva:

> I'm not even sure the FSF *could* do that, given my recollection of the
> wording in the copyright assignments it has received.  IIRC, in return
> for the assignment, the FSF promises to ensure that any distribution of
> the work or of works based on it, under the FSF control, ought to be in
> ways that respect users' freedom over the code.

I interpret the contract in such a way that it does not rule out
non-copyleft licenses.  The FSF does guarantee that the version it
ships is free, but nothing beyond that.  (In addition, in the GCC
context, it is fairly important to some contributors that a copyleft
compiler license does not propagate to the generated binaries, but
that's not in the contract, either.)

I think for symmetry reasons, the FSF should license the front end
under a non-copyleft license directly.  Licensing asymmetry has turned
into a problem for too many software projects. 8-(

Furthermore, now that Go is part of GCC, I'm not sure if someone who
has signed an assignment contract with the FSF covering GCC can
actually license the code to Google (or vice versa).
Paolo Bonzini - Dec. 4, 2010, 10:11 p.m.
On 12/04/2010 03:58 PM, Florian Weimer wrote:
> Furthermore, now that Go is part of GCC, I'm not sure if someone who
> has signed an assignment contract with the FSF covering GCC can
> actually license the code to Google (or vice versa).

Yes, that is allowed by the license grantback that is part of the FSF 
copyright assignment.

Paolo

Patch

diff -r 0f6903c0e43d go/README
--- a/go/README	Thu Dec 02 15:21:35 2010 -0800
+++ b/go/README	Fri Dec 03 11:00:18 2010 -0800
@@ -38,13 +38,11 @@ 
 To contribute patches to the files in this directory, please see
 http://golang.org/doc/gccgo_contribute.html .
 
-Changes to these files require a copyright assignment to Google.  This
-is required to permit the changes to be copied to the gcc repository,
-as Google has a copyright assignment with the Free Software
-Foundation.
-
-If you are the copyright holder, you will need to agree to the
-individual contributor license agreement at
+These master copy of these files is hosted at
+http://code.google.com/p/gofrontend .  Changes to these files require
+signing a Google copyright license agreement.  If you are the
+copyright holder, you will need to agree to the individual contributor
+license agreement at
 http://code.google.com/legal/individual-cla-v1.0.html.  This agreement
 can be completed online.
 
diff -r 0f6903c0e43d libgo/README
--- a/libgo/README	Thu Dec 02 15:21:35 2010 -0800
+++ b/libgo/README	Fri Dec 03 11:00:18 2010 -0800
@@ -28,13 +28,11 @@ 
 To contribute patches to the files in this directory, please see
 http://golang.org/doc/gccgo_contribute.html .
 
-Changes to these files require a copyright assignment to Google.  This
-is required to permit the changes to be copied to the gcc repository,
-as Google has a copyright assignment with the Free Software
-Foundation.
-
-If you are the copyright holder, you will need to agree to the
-individual contributor license agreement at
+These master copy of these files is hosted at
+http://code.google.com/p/gofrontend .  Changes to these files require
+signing a Google copyright license agreement.  If you are the
+copyright holder, you will need to agree to the individual contributor
+license agreement at
 http://code.google.com/legal/individual-cla-v1.0.html.  This agreement
 can be completed online.