On Fri, 2001-09-28 at 08:32, Paul Everitt wrote:
> Dieter Maurer wrote:
> > Paul Everitt writes:
> >      <http://dev.zope.org/CVS/Contributor.pdf>
> > 
> > The "Committer Agreement" does not seem to be even handed:
> > 
> >    The committer transfers rights immediately and indefinitely
> >    to Zope Corporation (the contributions become a gift to
> >    Zope Corporation).
> This is an inaccurate representation.  Transfer means you lose the 
> rights and we gain the rights.  Under joint ownership, both have rights. 
>   I think this point was abundantly clear, so I'm surprised to see you 
> portray this as a gift.

Hmm. So, the copyright to the contributed code is held jointly? or does
the contibutor simply grant a non-exclusive license to Zope Corp
(including the right to relicense)?

> >    The agreement states explicitly that no rights are transfered
> >    to the committer.
> Because they never lost any rights.

This is correct. The contributor gets access to the entire source code
under the ZPL anyway, even without making a contribution. No additional
rights need be asigned from ZC to the contributor, IMO.
> >    This is not a problem in itself. However....
> > 
> >       My intention to contribute would be to strengthen
> >       the Open Source Movement. A statement that
> >       the supported code base (Zope) will remain open source
> >       and that committers will be able to use it (indefinitely)
> >       under terms comparable to the current ZPL would
> >       help to let the agreement to appear more balanced....
> I don't think it's really feasible to 100% guarantee things in the 
> future.  Rather, the agreement states that current code, and any 
> contribution, will be available under the ZPL.  Nothing can be 
> retracted.  If someone comes along and gives us one trillion dollars to 
> stop releasing our work as open source, two things would happen:
> 1) First, we'd take the money. :^)
> 2) Second, all the existing code has to remain available under the ZPL. 
>   We just wouldn't do _new_ things under a ZPL.
> This is part of the safety of joint ownership.  If you don't like what 
> we do in the future, you still have rights on your contribution

This prospect (of future ZC code being non-ZPL), while remote, is why I
beleive that it is important that the ZPL be GPL-compatible.

In that scenario (and I stress again that I think it is unlikely), where
future ZC development was proprietary and unavailable to the community,
it's important that it be possible for the community to respond by
making subsequent community contributed code GPL, and therefore
unavailable to proprietary vendors (trhis includes the hypothetical evil
mirror-universe ZC, who will all have beards).

Unless the ZPL is GPL-compatible (at least), this will not be possible,
as it is currently not possible to create GPL licensed products that
subclass ZPL'd Zope classes.

I am *not* advocating that the opening of the CVS repository be held up
for this, I just want to make sure that the goal of making the ZPL GPL
compatible remains on the agenda.

> > The "Commitrer Agreement" is quite threadening:
> > 
> >    A committer takes over a considerable risk (complete warranty
> >    and indemnification with respect to intellectual rights infringement).
> Yes.  You can't make the risk disappear.  Someone has to bear the risk. 
>   It makes zero sense for ZC to bear the risk of what goes on in someone 
> else's brain.  Even in the scenario of carelessness, a case will have to 
> be made regarding what you knew and when you knew it.

This is another area where I agree with Paul. Publishers frequently
require authors to sign a 'warants and represents' clause that has the
same effect. *Good* publishers still cover legal costs for unsuccessful
lawsuits, so that the author isn't left hung out to dry when someone
files a 'slapsuit'.

I think the same standard should be applied here.

> >    Otherwise, commiting anything might easily ruin an individual.
> Instead, you'd prefer that it ruin ZC?  Or are you asserting that 
> somehow we could make it so that nobody would be held accountable?

The contributor should be held accountable in the event of a
*successful* lawsuit. but it isn't reasonable to expect an individual to
have to defend against frivolous lawsuits from large corporations.

> >    Especially with the strange US Patent Laws (where almost
> >    everything (such as presenting information in a popup window
> >    or integrating a Web Frontend with a baking oven) can
> >    be patented) and incredibly high damages amounts
> >    (5 billion for a smoker who got cancer) assigned in US courts.
> Unfortunately that's the jurisdiction in which we operate.

Thankfuly, our legal jurisdiction also has provisions for countersuing
those who engage in underhanded legal tactics (such as slapsuits) for
legal costs and damages, but a large corporation can still bankrupt an
individual, making that option unavailable to them.

This is why it is important for individuals to be protected from legal
costs, unless the lawsuit is successful.

If ZC doesn't take on the burden of defending against frivolous lawsuits
(and countersuing where appropriate), then the individual contributor
who faces a potentially bankrupting lawsuit, will probably simply
withdraw the contribution, and where would that leave ZC?


Michael Bernstein.

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