Friday, 2 January 2015

Re: [Ubuntu-bugcontrol] Please, consider reflecting on the Canonical Contributor Agreement

On Friday, January 02, 2015 01:45:48 PM Stephen M. Webb wrote:
...
> Argument: The CLA grants more rights to Canonical than the contributor
> gets.
>
> Response: No, it definitely does not. It grants to Canonical a clearly
> defined subset of the rights the contributor has, yet the contributor keeps
> all his or her original rights. The contributor loses nothing save maybe
> the ability to personally control what Canonical can do with its
> investment, and that's not a right but an unintended consequence that the
> unethical can use to their advantage. The premise is invalid.
...

Snipped the rest, since it doesn't, IMO, need further discussion.

Here you're wrong. If Canonical releases GPL code, the GPL constrains what I
can do with that code. Since Canonical is the copyright owner, they are not
constrained. If I contribute code under the CLA, Canonical is not constrained
to the GPL like I am regarding the code in that project. They have the same
rights over my code as if they had written it.

It doesn't matter for you, since your contributions are a work made for hire
and Canonical owns it regardless, but for people in the broader community who
are doing this for free in the interest of improving free software the
distinction matters a lot.

I get that it doesn't matter to you, but that doesn't make it invalid. I know
a lot of reasonable people at Canonical that believe that the broader
community shouldn't be so concerned about the CLA as it is today (which is -
for the record - a vast improvement on the first iteration), but many people
are.

I guess if I look at your reply as meaning Canonical funded projects aren't
really free software projects, just corporate software development that
happens to be done largely in the open and that currently has free licensing,
I can see the point, but I hope that's not the way I should be looking at what
Canonical is doing.

Scott K

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