Jonathan Nieder <> writes:

> Also keep in mind that you don't need a copyright notice to own
> copyright, that it would be crazy for someone to claim you've assigned
> copyright on your changes without an explicit reassignment,

Not at all crazy: Documentation/SubmittingPatches states that adding a
"Signed-off-by:" footer to a commit among other things constitutes
agreement to

        Developer's Certificate of Origin 1.1

        By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:

        (a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I
            have the right to submit it under the open source license
            indicated in the file; or

        (b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best
            of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open source
            license and I have the right under that license to submit that
            work with modifications, whether created in whole or in part
            by me, under the same open source license (unless I am
            permitted to submit under a different license), as indicated
            in the file; or

The only relevant notice to licensing "indicated in the file" currently
is "Copyright (c) 2006 by Junio Hamano".

Also whether or not this implies an assignment of copyright, it is a
reasonable assumption for people working with a copy of Git distributed
by tar file or otherwise that a file with such a copyright notice only
contains material copyrighted by Junio Hamano.  So if I want to assert
my copyright in the case of licensing breaches, the party in breach may
claim estoppel by me "hiding" material copyrighted by myself in a file
with such a notice.

> and that libgit2's git.git-authors file that keeps coming up includes
> a comment with a heuristic for delving into the history to find the
> authors of some code.

Sure.  But that does not mean that this is the only means to "reasonably
infer" the authorship of a file.

> [...]
>> Permissable-Licenses: GPL Version 2 or later
> Wouldn't a signed message on your website or some other public place
> (e.g., the mailing list) do the trick?

Legally?  Sure.  The whole point of such a notice in the commit message
(or in some central file in the Git repository) is to save people the
hassle of second-guessing or sleuthing for every single contribution.

> Or a sentence in a commit message saying
>  "I'd be happy to have these changes relicensed under the GPL version
>  2 or later."
> sounds fine to me, at least.

It's verbose and cumbersome enough that I would not have been surprised
if there'd be an established way of getting this information on record,
preferably per-project rather than per-commit.  If it's going to be
per-commit, a footer line would be less obtrusive than a whole sentence.

But it would seem that there's no rule/standard here.


David Kastrup
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