[legal] Comments on copyright license in the proposed IPR policy
simon at josefsson.org
Thu Jun 7 08:22:35 UTC 2007
"Gabe Wachob" <gabe.wachob at amsoft.net> writes:
> Thanks for the feedback. I had similar feedback when this IPR draft
> was initially proposed (in private). Feel free to add this comment to the
> wiki. Fortunately, I think the copyright issues are far easier to deal with
> than the patent issues, and I suspect that with enough feedback like this,
> we can surely have copyright licensing that is more in line with your
> The one thing I don't know that we have is a party identified that can
> hold the copyright - it could be copyright by all the authors, but
> that's unwieldy - I'd rather see assignment to a coordinating party
> (like IETF does).
The IETF does not do copyright assignment. All authors retain the
copyright on text they write in IETF documents.
> Perhaps the OIDF is that party.
Yes, that would work, although I'm not sure it is the best solution. It
involves having every contributor sign papers to transfer the copyright,
and setting up that legal vehicle is not trivial. But it could be done.
An alternative would be to require that everyone license their
contribution under a suitably permissive license, and that license gives
the OIDF the sufficient rights to distribute the standard.
There is a problem if we'd want to publish the standard through the IETF
though, since they typically do not allow third-party copyright notices
in documents. However, there is an exception for external
standardization organization, if you make a request to the IAB about it.
See RFC 3978:
Additional copyright notices are not permitted in IETF Documents
except in the case where such document is the product of a joint
development effort between the IETF and another standards development
organization or the document is a republication of the work of
another standards organization. Such exceptions must be approved on
an individual basis by the IAB.
To work around this problem, the "OpenID license" could be a
dual-license of, e.g., the MIT license and some other license that
permits republication without preserving the copyright.
> If others share Simon's concerns, please say so here.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: legal-bounces at openid.net [mailto:legal-bounces at openid.net] On Behalf
>> Of Simon Josefsson
>> Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2007 4:53 AM
>> To: legal at openid.net
>> Subject: [legal] Comments on copyright license in the proposed IPR policy
>> Hi! I'm new to the OpenId.net lists. I am an independent developer,
>> and I am working on OpenID related stuff for a startup company. I have
>> also participated in discussions for better IPR conditions within the
>> IETF. A recent document that collect some insight from that is:
>> I reviewed the OpenID IPR policy, and I've notice one potential
>> problematic thing in the copyright license, with regards to free
>> software license compatibility. The copyright license says:
>> "Copyright License. Some Contributions are not subject to
>> copyright. However, to the extent a Contribution is or may be subject
>> to copyright, the Contributor hereby agrees to grant a perpetual,
>> non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide copyright license to OpenID,
>> to other Contributors, and to Implementers, to reproduce, prepare
>> derivative works from, distribute, perform and display the
>> Contribution and derivative works thereof solely for the development
>> and implementation of OpenID Specifications."
>> This do not grant a copyright license to third parties. Is that the
>> I'm having trouble seeing how a free software product would reference
>> the OpenID copyright license, when it borrows material from the
>> specifications. Do you even allow free software to borrow material from
>> OpenID specifications?
>> Will there be a 'Copyright (C) XXXX OpenID Foundation'?
>> It is common for copyright licenses to require that the copyright notice
>> and the license must be retained in all copies of derived material. I
>> could not find similar wordings in your policy.
>> In addition to your own copyright license, dual-license contributions
>> under a widely known free license, e.g., the GPL, GFDL or CC-BY-SA
>> Alternatively, just license everything under a permissible license, such
>> as the BSD or MIT license.
>> Thanks for your consideration,
>> legal mailing list
>> legal at openid.net
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