[TOS] Textbook authors: Copyright Assignment, please respond
gdk at redhat.com
Fri Sep 18 14:24:51 UTC 2009
On Fri, 18 Sep 2009, Ross Gardler wrote:
> I'm confused too. In your original mail you said "SA-BY-NC", I
> observed that we appeared to have agreed on CC-BY-SA, here you say we
> agreed on CC-BY.
My sincere apology. I will go through, read the appropriate threads, sort
this out, and write it down in a canonical place so this doesn't happen
>> So clearly I'm confused. If you're not talking about copyright
>> assignment, then are you simply talking about what entity holds the
>> CLA? Do we just need a single entity to track CLA requests?
> To take responsability for and to manage the CLAs, yes, but also to
> act as the first point of contact if there were ever any claim on the
> integrity of contributed works. This would mean that the entity would,
> potentially, be opening themselves up to legal battles - probably not
> a significant risk in this case, but a risk nevertheless.
> They would be responsibe for ensuring, for example, that none of the
> authors had cut and paste content from another text.
> The risk to this entity would be reduced by the CLA itself, which would
> have the author confirm they have the authority to grant the rights in
> question, but the holding entity would still be the first point of
> contact and, if lawyers could prove that due dilligence did not take
> place they would themselves become liable. In other words, this entity
> is had better be prepared to enforce a proper IP management process on
> the writing of this book (which probably amounts to only giving write
> access to those who have filed a CLA - assuming the authoring tool
> adequately tracks versions and contributors).
> I appreciate that community members may feel this is going overboard.
> Unfortuantely, lawyers are risk averse and in many places lawyers
> dictate what we can and can't do, both on the development and use side.
> From a user perspective, this material could have a hard time making it
> into one of the public repositories of open content unless we can show a
> full audit trail for all content.
> On the other hand, I might just be being too anal about this and I
> should retrain as a laywer. 
>  This is deliberately intended to open the door for people to say
> what they think - I've been online communities for may years and I have
> a very thick skin. My goal is not to get in the way, but to ensure the
> issues are considered at an early stage.
Well, at the very least, I need to figure out what damned license we
actually agreed to.
"The risk to this entity would be reduced by the CLA itself, which would
have the author confirm they have the authority to grant the rights in
question, but the holding entity would still be the first point of contact
and, if lawyers could prove that due dilligence did not take place they
would themselves become liable. In other words, this entity is had better
be prepared to enforce a proper IP management process on the writing of
this book (which probably amounts to only giving write access to those who
have filed a CLA - assuming the authoring tool adequately tracks versions
Does OSS Watch have the capability to provide this service? Because if
you do, I'd consider it.
But if not, I think I'd rather forego the CLA and accept the risk. I'd
rather focus on getting all of the content written, as individual authors
and copyright owners, with each chapter essentially being a "work", and
*then*, once we've got content that professors see, and like, and say
"hey, I could use that, and look it's already under an open license,
yaaay," *then* we concern ourselves with the remixing of the results.
Seems like most lawsuits happen when there's money involved. To me, the
risks aren't about money; they're about opportunity cost. OSS Watch
would, of course, be an incredibly valuable contributor.
So. To boil it down. Seems like the entity most concerned about CLA is
OSS Watch. If OSS Watch can lead us thru the creation and management of a
lightweight CLA process, and can act as the necessary legal first contact,
so be it. Otherwise, I'm willing, as an individual contributor, to bear
the legal risks.
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