[TOS] Textbook authors: Copyright Assignment, please respond

Karsten Wade kwade at redhat.com
Tue Sep 22 21:19:39 UTC 2009

On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 08:20:24PM +0000, Frank Hecker wrote:
> 2009/9/22 Karsten Wade <kwade at redhat.com>:
> > Can you clarify for me how this is supposed to work with blending
> > content between CLA-yes and CLA-no?
> >
> > For example, Mr. Able wants his IP managed under a CLA, and Ms. Baker
> > prefers to just license it directly under the CC-BY-SA.  They both are
> > going to work together on a chapter, pulling in content from OSS
> > Watch, which is also managed under the CLA.  This content is blended
> > in to a single chapter.  How do you sort out later if there is a
> > question that would be resolved with the CLA, but Ms. Baker's IP is
> > all over the place under a single license?
> That would be a problem. A CLA scheme works best if everyone is under
> it, so that there's a single entity that can have responsibility for
> holding the associated rights (i.e., those granted under the CLA) and
> licensing the content to the general public. In the absence of that
> then a CLA is much less useful.
> A possible alternative would be to require that everyone contributing
> to a given chapter sign a CLA, but I'm not sure that would be either
> practical or useful.

That's what I was afraid of.

In that case, I am firmly on the side of doing a CLA for everyone.  I
don't see any reason to object.  I know they can be a barrier to
entry, but it's a minimal barrier for what is always going to be a
relatively small-sized project.  What we can is important, including
clarity on how to meld content.  As long as the CLA doesn't permit
relicensing under a more restrictive license, there shouldn't be a
reason to object signing it.

What would be best is if we can do an online, click-through CLA.
Fedora has done this for the last few years.  Is that possible?
Because, yeah, print, sign, and FAX are more of a PITA. :)

I personally don't even want to start looking at OSS Watch-sourced
content until I know how it can be used; but I'm anxious to see soon
so it can influence what is being written.

- Karsten
Karsten 'quaid' Wade, Community Gardener
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