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[Discuss] Copyright in FOSS Consulting

On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 6:56 AM, Greg Rundlett (freephile)
<greg at> wrote:
> I've been working on clarifying the "best practices" and boilerplate
> contract language that addresses Copyright in a GPL world.

That's a good thing to do, thank you. Well done re the Trigger and AGPL.

Might want to compare/contrast *GPL vs MIT, BSD licenses from
commercial use point of view. (And GPLv2 vs GPLv3.)

There's a similar issue on the Salaried employment side (so-called
"perm", hah!); terms of employment often make FLOSS contribution
impossible without very careful re-negotiation with Corporate Legal.
    My recent Fortune500 was relatively enlightened and had a formal
process for allowing and encouraging pushing patches and add-ons
up-stream, and even for releasing internally created projects out to
github as new FLOSS projects where external contributors would help it
thrive. (Obviously core competitive secret-sauce was not eligible for

One area we had concern was internally modified GPL software used by
contractors on our behalf.  GPLv3 terms define 'Distribution' well
enough that's clearly out of scope and non-triggering. GPLv2 was
perceived as fuzzy here.

The other subtlety is GPLv3 has those Patent clauses. HP prevailed in
getting the draft toned down to *only* apply to patents required by
the software. Firms engaging in software and/or process patents only
for defensive purposes may be ok with GPLv3 patent clauses, but any
expecting to enforce patents against competitors must tread carefully
with using (L)GPLv3 enabling  platforms with their patented IP.

Bill Ricker
bill.n1vux at

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