[TOS] Textbook authors: Copyright Assignment, please respond

Ross Gardler ross.gardler at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Fri Sep 18 14:42:44 UTC 2009

2009/9/18 Greg DeKoenigsberg <gdk at redhat.com>:


>> On the other hand, I might just be being too anal about this and I
>> should retrain as a laywer. [1]
>> Ross
>> [1] 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.

Here we have me calling myself "anal" and you not being which licence
we agreed to - what fine examples of collaborative working we are
turning out to be ;-)

> Beyond that:
> "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)."
> Does OSS Watch have the capability to provide this service?  Because if you
> do, I'd consider it.

I note that Frank says Mozilla may be able to help, so we have two
possible routes. I would suggest that Mozilla would be a better
vehicle. Whilst OSS Watch have a strong brand in the UK, we are almost
nothing outside the UK and Mozilla is stronger that us, even here in
the UK ;-)

Brand breeds trust.

If Mozilla doesn't work out, OSS Watch would be able to assist
(pending legal approval from the University).

I'm happy to work with Mozilla to get everything in place if it would help.

> 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.

Yes, That is certainly an option. This is really an issue for us as
our content spans all chapters, but does not form a complete chapter
without "glue" text being written. As I've said a few times our
materials are under a CC-BY-SA so they can be taken by chapter authors
anyway. It's only a concern for us if we either donate content by
uploading it ourselves or if we are named as copyright holders on
materials contributed by third parties without a CLA.


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