[TOS] Textbook authors: Copyright Assignment, please respond

Frank Hecker hecker at mozillafoundation.org
Fri Sep 18 03:44:52 UTC 2009

On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 1:40 AM, Chris Tyler <chris at tylers.info> wrote:
> If every author grants CC-BY-SA, why do we need a CLA?

I can see at least two reasons why a CLA might be useful, at least in
certain cases. (As Ross said, we'll assume a CLA that is not a full
copyright assignment.) First, a CLA can memorialize the fact that an
organization (e.g., OSS Watch) actually has in fact formally granted
rights to use its materials; this allows employees of that
organization to freely contribute material without the need to seek
further management authorization on a case-by-case basis.

Second, assuming the contributing organization is willing to do this,
a CLA can provide a grant of license rights so broad that it permits
the material to be redistributed under a variety of different licenses
as needed. For example, suppose an organization contributed material
under a broad license grant, and the material was incorporated into a
work distributed under CC-BY-SA. Suppose at a later time it because
advantageous to reuse some of the work in a new work (or a new version
of the older work) distributed under CC-BY or BY-NC-SA. If the
material in the work were contributed under a broad enough CLA, it
would not be necessary to go back to the original organization for
permission to relicense.


Frank Hecker

More information about the tos mailing list