> On 14 August 2006 13:24, Darryl Miles wrote:
>> But its not clear from the agreement how the distinction is made between
>> my code that is covered by the agreement and code which is not. So I'm
>> just confirming the default situation is that my work is not covered
>> under the agreement unless I have explicitly stated otherwise.
> Yes, of course; nobody would sign a contract which bound them to redhat for
> the rest of their lives for zero pay, and it wouldn't be enforceable even if
> it did say that - it's legally inadmissible to sell yourself into slavery.
Is the slavery term used in reference the US constitution, this is your
legal standing ? I understand a slavery to be a master and slave
relationship, where the slave is compelled to act under the masters
instructions. I do not believe this accurately describes my
relationship with RH nor any work carried out in relation to CYGWIN, as
RH did not request the work in be done (and will not in the future).
The situation from me is not about what I should and shouldn't do nor
about who has the rights to dictate that, it is not disputed I am my
own free agent both before and after I sign.
A more accurate expression to describe the relationship would be charity.
> The agreement covers code that you submit for inclusion in the cygwin code
> base. Only work that you voluntarily submit of your own accord. If you don't
> want any particular piece of work to be covered by the assignment, simply
> don't submit it for inclusion in the cygwin code base.
> In order to not submit it for inclusion in the cygwin code base, simply
> don't post a patch of it to the cygwin-patches list.
Okay so the official channel is the cygwin-patches list and even though
its not legally stated in the agreement it is understood by everyone
that submissions to that list. I would still stand by original point on
this, only because its not written down anywhere which makes it grey
area for court of law to pass judgment should there be any ambiguity
over what is being contributed under the agreement and what is not being
contributed under the agreement.
>> My objection is that RedHat is a profit generating organization that can
>> be bought out or sold in the future and that the companies article of
>> association (the primary objective of the company) may be amended at the
>> whim of current and future shareholders.
> Regardless; the code is GPL'd. Redhat cannot change or withdraw the GPL
> license of this code; your contributions are guaranteed to remain public and
> opensource forever. That's the whole point of having the GPL: it forbids
> anyone (such as RH) to try and take your rights to the code away.
Again this isn't disputed by me. I'm perfectly happy to GPL my code and
leave it at that, not signing any agreements or anything. Pure GPLed
code retains the original copyright, it is only the major building
blocks of the GNU operating system (gcc/gdb/glibc) that copyright
assignment to the FSF is requested. But a huge amount of GPLed code out
there is not assigned to the FSF. It is my belief a core reason why
those parts of the GNU operating system have their copyrights assigned
is because the founders of the FSF created those projects themselves and
in the early days of FSF they wanted to be legally sure they covered all
To re-iterate I have no problem giving away copyright (public domain)
and no problem assigning it to another party providing that the right
obtained through that assignment are only used for the purpose of
enforcing the GPL (not for any other commercial reasons).
But this isn't how the agreement reads to me.
It reads that I am assigning the copyright and all rights of the work it
over to RH for them to use in any way they like (just like any other
company asset) but this wasn't the intention of my work to become a RH
asset, it was the intention of my work to be a community asset, where
RHs only rights to it are on the same level playing field as anyone
elses rights to it.
By becoming the copyright title holder RH gets power of atternoy over
the work in the future. There is nothing legally stopping RH from
taking a disagreeable commercial avenue in the future with the work.
>> Where as the FSF (and I think Apache Foundation and Eclipse Foundation)
>> are organizations which are not for profit with a specific clear
>> purposes to manage copyright and intellectual property for the good of
>> their communities.
> A meaningless distinction. They could equally change their
> constitution/charter/intent and purpose/whatever at some time in the future.
> Fortunately the GPL ties their hands too.
I disagree. This may just be an issue of trust, you obviously trust RH
more than I do. I am happy to trust the FSF much more than RH (on the
issue of being the copyright holder), for the reasons already stated the
missions of the respective organizations are completely different.
Please feel free to cite me sections of the FSF Inc,. constituion to
back up your understanding.
There is a political situation here, it is accepted by me that RH exists
to do business. In the course of their business they might make close
moral calls and no one can deny them of that. However if the FSF start
doing amoral things people will feel they have the right to take action
and those with vested interests will. Call this a collective
understanding which can be defined by the respective companies mission
>> I am happy for Redhat to make money from my contribution, but I am not
>> happy to enter into a one sided legally binding agreement with a
>> commercial entitiy when there is no commercial gain in it for me.
>> Especially when I can't see any justification for the scope of contact
>> as written to be so large. This is not a win-win legal situation.
> It's not one-sided. It places no ongoing obligation on you. The scope is
> not as large as you imagine it to be. Your fears are completely unnecessary.
> Take a deep breath and stop worrying, already!
Yes you are probably completely correct. However if you are there is no
need for an agreement written in the way it is.
I <my_name> hereby grant RedHat Inc,. license to:
* Distribute this code in binary form.
* To act as my attorney to enforce the letter of the GPL.
* To charge money for the software (as well as support of software)
* ... anything else they want to public disclose before hand
This is a far different arrangement to the transferring of copyright
entitlement. The above is an explicit list of additional rights RedHat
has over the contribution, rights over and above those already stated in
This way as a contributor one can be sure of what purpose RH put those
rights to in the future.