On Fri, 2011-05-27 at 16:33 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> Copyright assignments to one organization put that organization in a
> strong position to enforce the GPL in court, because it can claim
> copyright over the whole work.  The FSF's lawyers advised us to get
> copyright assignments for contributions to our packages saying it
> would reduce uncertainty in enforcing the GPL.
>
> GNOME does not have to do this, but it might be a good idea for the
> GNOME Foundation to ask for copyright assignments for certain
> components.  Maybe there has been little GPL violation for GNOME, but
> that might change if mobile devices start using it.

IMHO, BusyBox is a good counter-example.  They do not require copyright
assignment, they have multiple copyright holders and they have
successfully defended GPL on lawsuits.  BusyBox is used in embedded
systems.

> The FSF copyright assignments put binding requirements of good conduct
> on the FSF.  For instance, we must provide source code and allow
> redistribution.  We designed these requirements to give contributorsd
> a basis to trust us in addition to knowing we act on principle.
> The GNOME Foundation could do likewise.
> 
> When companies ask for copyright assignments, they may be seeking
> to use your code in proprietary software.  Here's an article
> that suggests what to look for when thinking about that question.
> http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/assigning-copyright.

There are some disadvantages of having one copyright holder, for
instance, a single copyright holder is a single point of failure, as is
described in https://live.gnome.org/CopyrightAssignment/Guidelines

-- 
Germán Póo-Caamaño
http://people.gnome.org/~gpoo/

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