The Plone Foundation adopted a policy for this, see

As we don't have any terms of service stating so for any of our issue trackers, 
we don't get any copyright assignments for reported bugs or proposed patches. 
Patches can be sent we private email, posted to bug trackers, on like 
services or sent via pull requests. All of those are legally the same and it's 
the responsibility of the person doing the checkin to validate the copyright 
situation. That said a lot of patches don't actually contain any creative work 
that falls under the copyright rules. This last point is the reason most 
projects aren't very strict about this issue.


On 19.08.2012, at 13:01, Lennart Regebro <> wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM, Jens Vagelpohl <> wrote:
>> On Aug 19, 2012, at 10:17 , Lennart Regebro <> wrote:
>>>> And since it becomes ever easier to accept code from unknown sources (e.g. 
>>>> pull requests) legal code ownership becomes an issue again.
>>> And that returns me to my first question: Is it really legally
>>> different for a contributor to accept a pull request from a
>>> non-contributor compared with a contributor merging a patch from a
>>> non-contributor?
>> Legally, both are disallowed unless there's some proof (written statement 
>> etc) from the code author that he assigns ownership of the patch or the 
>> contents of that pull request to the contributor who is doing the checkin.
>> In the past we haven't done a good job of enforcing this clear ownership 
>> assignment chain. There are always code patches from non-contributors in the 
>> bug tracker that may make it into the code base with the help of a 
>> contributor. There's a grey area: Is the act of submitting a patch into the 
>> Zope bug tracker enough to signal "I am giving you ownership of this code"? 
>> I am not sure.
>> GitHub makes this pulling in of "outside" code even easier. I'm afraid it 
>> will become even harder to really maintain this chain of custody.
> This is then, IMO a problem that we should fix. What you are in fact
> saying is that the current system are violating people's copyright
> everytime we merge a non-contributors patch. It is unfeasible to not
> merge peoples patches, and I think it is also a big problem that the
> way the ownership of the code works now inhibits the increased
> simplicity of making and merging fixes for non-core contributors.
> In other words, we have had an ownership situation which is terrible,
> and nobody seems to have realized this until now. Well, now we know.
> As such, the discussion must now shift from "don't do this" to "how do
> we do this". Poeple want to contribute and we should not say "don't do
> that", we have to figure out *how* to make it possible to do that, and
> pretty pronto as well.
> //Lennart
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